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Hear the WKDK Road Trips every Fourth Thursday of the Month on WKDK and WKDK.com!


"WKDK Road Trips"
are a feature of
The Newberry County
Historical and Museum Society.
The Newberry County Museum
is located at 1503 Nance Street,
behind the Public Safety Complex.
The drive is off Cornelia Street.


The Museum is open on the first
and third Saturdays of each month from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
(or any time by appointment).

For more information, contact
Ernest Shealy at (803) 924-0282.

 

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WKDK Road Trips

Ernest Shealy (below) of the Newberry County Museum provides
the WKDK Road Trip each month on the Coffee Hour.


2014/2013/2012 Road Trips


December Road Trip
December 2013


Thanksgiving Road Trip

October 2013

A Trip to the Southwest

August 2013

Origins: Broad River
July 2013

June Road Trip
June 2013

Origins: Bush River

May 2013

Crossing the Line

April 2013

The Essential Newberry

March 2013

Southwestern Newberry County

February 2013

"Well-Worn Path" for Ernie
January 2013

Bush River Road Trip

December 2012


A Haunted Trip
October 2012

Funerary Art Appreciation

September 2012

A Trip to Edgefield

July 2012

It's Porch Time!
June 2012


 

See below for archived Road Trips!

A Visit to Columbia
(April)

Madness of Spring: There and Back Again

(March)

Anniversary Edition
(February)

January Road Trip
(January)

2011 Road Trips

Holiday Road Trip
(December)

Spooky Times
(October)

A Hop Over to Prosperity
(August)

Beat the Heat
(July)

A Summer Road Trip
(June)

A Revolutionary Trip
(May)

Anxiously Awaiting Spring
(February)

2010 Road Trips

Building a Better Ghost Story

(October)

Some Virginia Connections: Pt. 2
(September)

The Virginia Connection: Pt. 1
(August)

Welcome to Little Mountain!
(July)

A Revolutionary Trip
(April)

Spring Has Sprung
(March)

Hoping for Spring
(February)

There and Back Again:
Circumnavigating Lake Greenwood
(January)


2009 Road Trips
December l November l October
September l August l July
June
l May l April
March
l February l January

 

The Cherokee Trail
April 2014

Though we had our traditional Easter cold snap, it seems that spring has not only “sprung,” it is bursting out in all directions.  Everything that can bloom is doing so.  New leaves are appearing everywhere in an infinite number of shades of green.  Though this makes it more difficult to locate road traces and old cemeteries, it really is a beautiful time to drive around the county and see the splendors of the season.  In downtown gardens, the stars are azaleas.  These colorful blooms were first introduced to America in Charleston in 1838 and have been a staple of southern gardens ever since.  A sure sign of Easter is the American Dogwood.  Though cultivated in pink and red, the native white can be seen through gardens and woodlands as well.  There is still plenty of Wisteria forming a colorful backdrop before its growing season begins and it vies once again for world domination (with kudzu).  The white and purple Flags are already blooming in old gardens and their cousins the Bearded Irises will add more color in the coming weeks.  Thrift, a creeping groundcover in pink, lavender and white, marks the edge of many an old garden.  Pink clusters of Oxalis can also be seen springing up in the green lawns.
From the Square, head south on Caldwell Street.  On the left is Central United Methodist Church.  Founded in 1833, the present Romanesque style building was built in 1900. (Pass by at night to catch a glimpse of the beautiful stained glass windows.)  Turn right on Boundary Street.  On the left is First Baptist Church.   The oldest congregation in downtown Newberry, First Baptist was organized in 1831.  The present church, the second on the site was built circa 1908. As you pass the old homes along Boundary Street, watch for the color of the spring gardens.  To the left at the corner of Drayton Street is the Pratt House which, though altered over time, was begun about 1840.  Also on the left, after Langford Street, is the Erasmus Nance House.  This two-story frame house with its projecting portico is typical of the fine homes built in city and county in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Leaving town, Boundary Street becomes Hwy 34-121.  You’ll cross Scott’s Creek and Bush River.  After that, there will be ample opportunity to see why Newberry was once described as the largest unbroken tract of farmland in the state.  When Hwy 34 splits off to go toward Silverstreet, bear left to stay on Hwy 121.  Welcome to Deadfall Community.  To the right at Deadfall Road is the Livingston House which was built circa 1870.  Because of the shifts in the course of the roads, this house stands nearly in the street.  The same is true for the Blair-Boozer House which is just down Hwy 121 to the left.  The massive double chimney is on an early wing of the house that was built by 1810.  The next house on the left is the Werts House which was begun in 1896.  Just beyond Long Farm Road on the left is the site of the old Higgins House, called “Silmont,” which was dismantled and moved to Lake Murray.  The Higgins Family operated a ferry across the Saluda River just south of the current bridge.  Downhill from the house (just beyond the big pine tree) is the Higgins Family Cemetery.  To the right are the water treatment plant and the source of Newberry’s water supply.  Cross the Saluda River into Saluda County. 
Originally (in 1785) the county immediately to the south of Newberry was Edgefield.  In 1895, a new county was formed out of Edgefield and called Saluda.  The name refers to an Indian tribe that occupied the land before the Cherokee.  The name “Saluda” means “corn,” so the Saluda River is the “River of Corn.”  Turn left on Old Cherokee Trail.  This road (the second on the left after the bridge) follows an old trace and parallels the river itself.  Pack-horse traders are known to have followed the Cherokee Trail prior to 1700.  It eventually led to the Cherokee capital at Keowee which is now under the lake of the same name.  This route was also important during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.
On the right at the crest of a hill is the Lester House.  This early nineteenth century plantation house is reminiscent of Pomaria Plantation and the Hardy House in Newberry County.  The topography and architecture along the south side of the Saluda River is similar to their counterparts in Newberry.  This is known by seasoned road-trippers as the “Newberry Effect,” with Newberry being the center of the universe.  Further along the road on the right is an ante bellum home.  With its massive square columns and pronounced gable, it is also similar to homes of the same age in Newberry. 
After a while, the Old Saluda Road intersects.  It is the “old” road because it, like so many others, became obsolete when the ferries were eliminated.  The ferry at the end of this road would have entered Newberry in the vicinity of the original site of New Chapel Methodist Church.  Turn right on Hwy 395.  On the left is the Boozer House, another ante bellum home with square columns.  Turn left on Hwy 194.  Turn left on Corinth Church Road and visit the churchyard at Corinth Lutheran Church.  (After travelling this far without seeing a Lutheran Church, this could make you feel a bit homesick.)  Founded in 1842, this church building bears a resemblance to Macedonia, which wasn’t nearly as far away before Lake Murray.  Return to Hwy 194 and turn left.  (Corinth Road forms a loop.)  Enjoy the fields, forests and farms.  Turn right on Hwy 391.  Cross the Little Saluda River (an arm of Lake Murray).
Turn left on St. Mark’s Church Road.  Down the road to the left is a fine Victorian house with lots of gingerbread.  Also on the left is St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1827, the present building was constructed in 1856.  (The exterior walls were bricked up in 1967.)  Both St. Mark’s and Corinth were originally so isolated from other communities that for a while they had Newberry County addresses.  Turn around and return to Hwy 391.  Turn right, and, after a little bit of retracing the same road, cross the Saluda River into Newberry County (Black’s Bridge).
Turn left on St. Luke’s Road and enjoy the familiar road names and almost mountainous terrain and vistas.  Be sure to notice the nineteenth century farmsteads scattered along the road or sitting out in fields and pastures.  On the right at the intersection of Stoney Hill Road is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1828, the old cemetery is to the side of the church.  Continue along St. Luke’s Road.  Just past the intersection of Fire Tower Road on the left is the old Dunker Cemetery.  Turn right on Hwy 395.  Turn right on Glenn Street Extension.  Down the road, there is a sharp bend to the left.  Straight ahead (if you don’t bend with the road) is Ebenezer Methodist Church.  Though Methodists had been meeting in area homes, land for this church was purchased in 1814.  The present building was begun in 1867.
Continue back into Newberry along Glenn Street.  Take your time and drive along the streets downtown to enjoy the spring colors.  Make your way back to the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

 


A Revolutionary March

March 2014

Spring has sprung and we are reminded of Col. Rutherford’s comment in The Annals of Newberry: “South Carolina is the garden-spot of the world and Newberry the garden-spot of that garden-spot.”  Though the cold and wet weather persists, the warmer days are coming and everything that has color to show is showing it.  Late winter shrubs and bulbs continue to bloom and are joined by spring fruit trees, flowering shrubs and new leaves of red and bright green.
Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  While on the Square, be sure to visit the newest memorial in Memorial Park – the one to the American Revolution.  This plays a part in today’s trip.  Though we have often mentioned Sir Banastre Tarleton in the context of dalliance at Tea Table Rock, this month we’ll take a look at his whole trip in January of 1781 through what is now Newberry County.  Because we are starting our trip in the middle of a swath across the county and since Tarleton’s roads don’t exist anymore, it may not be possible to follow his whole trip chronologically from one end to the other.
From the Square, drive east on Main Street.  To get near the point where Tarleton entered Newberry, we have to cover some distance through familiar, but also historic territory.  On the way, watch for the beautiful spring flowers of Bradford Pears, Judas Trees (Redbuds) and flowering plums and peaches.  The State flower, Yellow Jessamine, is also starting to appear.  The purple flowers of Henbit can be seen in yards and fields alike.  Stay on Main Street as it becomes Hwy 219 and when you get to Hwy 176, bear to the right.  When you cross Crim’s Creek at Pomaria, you are entering the heart of the old Dutch Fork.  A few miles down the road on the left is Pomaria Plantation, the seat of the Summer family.  Though the house was not built until 1825, the Summer plantation was the site of a British encampment on the first night after Tarleton crossed the Broad River into Newberry.  Tarleton’s men “ate” it out.  Turn left on Hope Station Road. 
St. John’s Lutheran Church was also adjacent to the British encampment.  The old church (circa 1808) is on the left.  The site of the original church is marked by a granite memorial on the far side of the cemetery.  At the end of Hope Station Road, turn right on Peak Road.  Turn right on Broad River Road.  Hoping to gain Loyalist support for the British Army, Maj. Patrick Ferguson marched through this area in August of 1780.  Turn left on Parr Road.  It was near the point where this road crosses Broad River that Tarleton crossed on January 2, 1781, with 200 untrained infantry and 900 cavalry.  The British had their winter encampment at Winnsboro.  Tarleton was headed toward Ninety Six in pursuit of Gen. Morgan and in hopes of preventing the Patriots from taking the fort at Ninety Six.  Turn around and head back into Newberry County.  Turn right on Holy Trinity Church Road and follow it into Little Mountain. 
The town of Little Mountain was established as a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad in 1890, but the area had been settled by Germans since 1752.  The Mountain (a monadnok of the Blue Ridge Mountains) was then called Ruff’s Mountain and was an important landmark.  Having carved a road across to the mountain, Tarleton then picked up the road to the Bush River Quaker settlement.  From Little Mountain, take Hwy 76 (Main Street) west.  Turn left on Mt. Pilgrim Church Road.  Cross Hwy 391 onto Stoney Battery Road.  Turn right on Fire Tower Road.  Turn right on St. Luke’s Church Road.  Immediately across the road are the old Dunker Cemetery and the site of the Dunker Church.   Turn right on Hwy 395.  Near here was the site of Brook’s Plantation where Tarleton had his second encampment in Newberry.  From here, Tarleton followed Bush River to a point near Springfield.  Turn left on Mendenhall Road.  Turn right on Dennis Dairy Lane.  At the end of the road turn left on Hwy 34 (Boundary Street).  Turn right on Hwy 121 (Kendall Road).  Turn left on Belfast Road.  As you may remember from last month’s trip, this is near the site of Springfield, John Belton O’Neall’s family home.  At this point, Tarleton’s trip becomes complicated.  He sent the infantry across Bush River while the cavalry searched the area around Coate’s Shop (downtown Newberry) for evidence of Col. William Washington’s Patriot forces.  Meanwhile, Mother Nature intervened.  Heavy rains stranded the infantry on one side of the river while the cavalry was on the other.  The nearest crossing was at O’Neal’s Mill (later known as Bobo’s) five miles downstream.  Marching on both sides of the river, Tarleton’s men went back the way they had just come.
Cross Bush River.  Turn left on Harold Bowers Road.  Turn left on Stoney Battery Road.  At the end of the road, cross Hwy 34-121 onto Quaker Road.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road to visit the site of the Quaker Meeting and the old Quaker Cemetery.  Turn around and continue along Dennis Dairy Road.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Lane.  Turn left on Hwy 395.  When you cross Bush River, you will be close to the site of O’Neal’s Mill.   Follow Hwy 395 back into town.  (It becomes Nance Street.)  Turn right on Main Street.  We’re crossing our own tracks at this point, but so was Tarleton.  On the left, just after College Street is the park formed from the demolition of Langford’s store after the tornado of 1984.  This was close to the site of Coate’s Shop where the cavalry camped when the infantry was across Bush River.  Turn left on Glenn Street.  Follow it out until it becomes Kate Street and turn right on College Street. 
Turn left on Hwy 76 and immediately right on Old Whitmire Hwy.  In the woods on the left, opposite the end of Folk Road is the celebrated Tea Table Rock which has been mentioned on many previous Road Trips.  According to legend, the ladies of the area entertained Tarleton and his officers with the tea on the flat granite outcroppings.  A familiar saying on the Road Trip is “never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”  In this case the truth really doesn’t get in the way.  Sir Banastre Tarleton was notorious for going straight through any obstacles to get to where he needed to be.  The story of Tea Table Rock is used to explain why it took a week to travel from Newberry to Cowpens – a distance that should have taken about three days to traverse.  Even O’Neall in the Annals of Newberry, not subject to the local legend, finds the length of Tarleton’s stay in the area puzzling.  In the absence of verifiable fact, we salute the ladies of Newberry County for delaying Tarleton and thus turning the tide of the American Revolution. 
Turn right on King’s Creek Road.  Across the field stands the Dr. George Washington Glenn House, a reminder of a generation named for Revolutionary War Patriots.  Glenn Street was named for Dr. Glenn as it followed the road that eventually led to this house.  (That’s only three degrees of separation between George Washington and downtown Newberry.)  Turn right on Hwy 121 and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 


Spring Can't Get Her Soon Enough

February 2014

It’s February and early spring bulbs should be bursting out everywhere.  However, because of those cold snaps and the white stuff, our familiar signs of spring are few and far between.  The foliage is coming out but the flowers are slow to show themselves.  I’ve seen a few Daffodils and some Star of Bethlehem around, so maybe there’s still hope.  I can’t rush the weather, but I can keep positive with a visit to some spring-related sites. 

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  The western end of the Square (now called Memorial Park) was originally the parking lot for the downtown.  In the nineteenth century, there was a large trough for the horses in the center.  This is the sort of spring that we will be looking for today – the type that provides water.

Turn right on Nance Street.  Just across Scott’s Creek on the left is the site of the old water treatment plant.  Between the complex of water buildings and the Fire Station is a small pond with a fountain.  This was part of the landscaping for the water plant.  Bubbling spring water was an important feature to the landscape of our forefathers.  Before the days of indoor plumbing, having a handy spring was just as important as having a well.  One of the first chores of the spring season was cleaning up around the spring.  Sometimes this was covered for protection and for storage.  Spring water is usually colder than the surrounding area (unless you’re near a volcano) and was used to keep things cool before refrigeration.  Turn right on Speers Street.  Turn left on College Street.  Just beyond the College on the right is Rosemont Cemetery.  Though it is now one large cemetery, Rosemont is made up of several parts.  One of them fits the theme for this month’s trip.

Turn right at the third entrance to the cemetery (the first without granite piers) to enter Springdale.  Turn left on the third street.  On the left are a series of slab tombstones which were moved from Aveleigh Cemetery.  Among them is the grave of David Boozer (1788-1850) whose second wife was the subject of much gossip in antebellum Newberry and eventually inspired the books La Belle and Another Jezebel.  At the end of the row, turn left and follow this street to the northernmost gate of the cemetery.  Turn left on College Street.

Turn right on Reid Street.  Turn left on Wells Park Drive.  On the right in the park near a bridge are a group of granite stones which mark the site of Wells Spring.  This originally had a granite spring house built over it.  In 1895, a Spanish helmet was found near here and linked to De Soto’s sixteenth century voyage.  (The helmet was supposed to have been given to the College.  If anyone out there knows its whereabouts, the museum is interested.)  Turn right on Pope Street.  Turn left on Kendall Road (Hwy 121).  Near the intersections of Belfast Road and O’Neall Streets is the site of Springfield, the plantation belonging to John Belton O’Neall.  It was near Bush River and, as its name implies, it was noted for its spring.  There are several fields near this intersection and some of them have ponds.  Ponds that do not have creeks flowing into them are often spring-fed.  Turn right on Hwy 34-121. 

While driving across the county this time of year, keep an eye out for the spring bulbs.  Even if only the foliage is showing, they can be signs of old house sites and cemeteries.  What we call Jonquils, Narcissus, Daffodils, Snowdrops and Butter & Eggs are forms of narcissus which have naturalized to the area.  Jonquils are sweet-smelling yellow flowers with dark green reed-like stems and leaves.  Daffodils have a pronounced trumpet and Butter & Eggs are a double form.  These latter range in color from greenish white to orange-yellow.  Narcissus is a small sweet-smelling cluster of flowers born on a single stem.  They are usually white, cream or yellow.   Snowdrops have bell-shaped white blooms with tiny green dots and are mostly unscented.

Turn right on Hwy 34 and follow it as it becomes Main Street in Silverstreet.  Wave at nearby Silverstreet Lutheran Church as you go through town.  The original name for this town was “Shop Springs.”  There was a post office here in 1837, long before it was a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad.  Turn right on Spearman Road.  Coming in from the left, not far from Rueben Elementary, is Trinity Springs Road (another spring reference).  Turn left on Belfast Road.  A lot of place and road names in this part of the county have the prefix “bel” which comes from a Gaelic word meaning “spring.”  Turn right on Rocky Creek Road.  On a bend in the road to the left is the Gilder-Sease House, a fine antebellum home.  Turn right on Beaverdam Creek Road.  When you cross Bush River, you can see the posts of the old bridge off to the right.  Turn left on Hwy 76.  Just past Jalapa on the right is the neoclassical Glasgow-McCrackin House.  Near this house are springs which were part of a resort in the late nineteenth century.  Turn right on Riser Road.  Turn right on Indian Creek Road.  Turn left on Jalapa Road.  Travelling through this part of the county, the creeks, streams and swampy areas are more visible than they have been in years.

Turn right on Old Newberry Highway and then left on Colonial Drive.  Near the end of the road on the left is Jasper Hall, built circa 1858.  Turn left on Hwy 121 (Hwy 176).  The next road on the right is Sulphur Springs Road.  I don’t know where the springs are, but the road runs parallel to Sulphur Springs Creek.  It may also be near the site of Pennington’s Fort from the French and Indian War.  Continue on Hwy 121 to Whitmire.  Stay on Hwy 121 and cross the Enoree River into Union County (briefly and with purpose).  Turn right on Maybinton Road (they may misspell it in Union County). 

Down the road, on the left, near the county line is the entrance to the Jew’s- Harp Spring Trail in the Sumter National Forest.  The spring served Orange Hall Plantation which was the seat of the Rogers and Renwick families.  The plantation was right on the border between the two counties.  The spring is noted for a monolithic granite sculpture in the shape of a jew’s-harp which was carved by J.E. Sherman in the early 1860’s.  The spring pumps out 3.5 gallons per minute.  The basin of the fountain is always filled but never overflows the edges.  (The National Forest website reminds us that the water is not considered safe to drink and that the hiking trail is “easy.”  Also be sure to wear bright colors in hunting season.)  Continue along Maybinton Road back into Newberry County.  Turn right on Brazelman’s Bridge Road.

On the left is the site of Ebenezer Methodist Church.  Organized in the 1780’s, only the old cemetery remains.  Also on the left is Seekwell Baptist Church which is one of the oldest African-American congregations in the county.  When you cross the Enoree River, notice the metal trestle bridge off to the right.  Cross Hwy 176 onto Old Whitmire Hwy and turn left on Hwy 121.  Follow this back to town as it becomes College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

 

 

December Road Trip
December 2013

Community is defined as a group of people living together with something in common.  In Newberry, we’re blessed with a community that is still thriving after well over two hundred years.  The common bond may be defined by natural resources, water supply, family or industry, but in Newberry, one thing that ties our community together is the centrality of our churches.  We have a large number of churches covering a wide range of denominations.  They are certainly a big part of the Christmas season, and we’ll pass by a few of them today.  

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Since there were no churches downtown until First Baptist was established in 1831, the county Court House was one of the places where travelling ministers would preach to the citizens gathered.  Many of the area congregations had their start with a meeting in the old Court House or one of the three buildings which stood here before this one was built in 1851.

From the Square, head east on Main Street.  Turn left on College Street.  Across Scott’s Creek on the left is Bethlehem Baptist Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in town.  It was established in 1868.  The first church building occupied the narrow lot on the opposite bank of Scott’s Creek.  The present church was built circa 1901 and features two towers, one obelisk-shaped and the other pyramid-shaped.  Turn right on Cheek Street.  On the left at the far corner of Cheek and Lindsay Streets is the site of St. Monica’s.  In 1894, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church established a mission called St. Luke the Physician which operated a school for African-American children on Lindsay Street beginning in 1899.  Later the church changed its name to St. Monica and relocated to South Street.  (St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine and is more familiarly known as Santa Monica.)  The congregation merged with St. Luke’s in the 1970’s.  Turn right on Lindsay Street.  Turn left on Wheeler Street and left again on Luther Street.  (With a name like that you know there’s a church connection coming up.)

We are now approaching the college campus.  Founded in 1856, Newberry College is a Lutheran-supported liberal arts school.  It is the ninth oldest college in South Carolina. Originally the school housed the Lutheran Seminary as well.  Turn left on Wolves Way.  On the right is Rosemont.  Rosemont Cemetery was established in 1863 to relieve the overcrowded conditions of the older Village Cemetery.  It has been expanded several times.  Turn right on College Street.  The south entrance lines up closely with Calmes Street, which appears in old maps as the southern boundary of the cemetery.  The back street which runs along the crest of the hill marks the old eastern boundary.  The northern boundary was just beyond the old north entry where the other set of granite piers is standing.  The monolithic granite piers which mark the older entrances were an early project of the Newberry Civic League and commemorate founders of both Rosemont and the Civic League.  Across Nosegay Park, True Light Ministries can be seen in the old Red& White building.  On the left-hand side of College Street, next to Baxter Cemetery is the Church of God.  This congregation was founded in the early 1940’s.

Turn left on First Street.  Ahead is the old Oakland Mill village.  Like the other mills in Newberry, Oakland had a full complement of churches.  Turn right on Fair Avenue. The old mill is on the right, now renovated as apartments.   Turn left on Third Street.  A Baptist congregation was organized for the mill village in 1913.  A new church building was begun at 1406 Third Street in 1937 and given the name Hunt Memorial Baptist Church in honor of Walter Herbert Hunt, first president of the mill.  Down the street on the left is Bethany Lutheran Church.   In 1935, Gilbert Goodman, a student at the Lutheran Seminary, began holding services in the schoolhouse at Oakland.  In 1936 the congregation was formed for Bethany.  A lot at the corner of Third and Nance Streets (1200 Third Street) was given by the mill.  The church is covered with flint rocks which were given by each Lutheran church in Newberry County.  Turn left on Nance Street.  On the left is Lewis Memorial Methodist Church.  A Methodist church was organized in 1912 for the mill village.  Originally called Oakland Methodist Church, the name was changed to Lewis Memorial in honor of W. H. Lewis, the first pastor.  The present church at 1105 First Street was built on the site of Oakland School. 

Turn right on Pope Street.  On the right is Glory Tabernacle Pentecostal Holiness Church.  Founded prior to World War I, the congregation has been on this site since the 1920’s.  Down the street on the right is Pioneer Baptist Church in a white frame building.  At the intersection of Hwy 121, turn left on Gray Street.  On the right at the corner of Vincent Street is Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  Founded in 1896, the present church was built in 1968.  Turn left on Vincent Street.  Turn right on Kendall Road. 

Turn left on O’Neal Street.  This side of town is known as West End and was the mill village for Newberry Cotton Mills.  On the left is O’Neal Street Methodist Church.  This Methodist congregation is an outgrowth of a tent revival held in Leavell’s Grove in 1891.  (Oak Grove on Jessica Avenue belonged to the Leavell family in the late nineteenth century.)   Originally called Second Methodist, the name was changed because of their location.  Turn left on Langford Street.  Turn right on Main Street.  The first church in the mill village was Second Baptist Church which organized in 1887 by members of First Baptist and Bush River Baptist Churches.  The first building for the congregation was erected in 1899.  At that time the name was changed to West End Baptist Church.  The present building at 617 Main Street is the third to serve this church and was built in 1954.  Turn left on Academy Street.  Turn right on Crosson Street.  Turn right on Drayton Street.  On the right is Mayer Memorial Church.  A Lutheran congregation was formed in 1899 at 1307 Drayton Street.  The church building was given by Dr. O. B. Mayer, Jr., in memory of his father.  Newberry is the only place in the state where all four mills had Lutheran churches.

Turn left on Boundary Street.  On the right is Saint Marks Catholic Church.  It was organized in 1956.  St. Mark’s stands on one end of the site of Halcyon Grove, an area on the southern side of the old village which was used by early congregations for tent revivals.  Turn left on Nance Street.  Turn right on Johnstone Street.  Ahead on the left is Central United Methodist Church.  Founded in 1833, the present Romanesque style building was built in 1900.  Turn right on Higgins Street.  Turn right on Boundary Street.  On the right is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.  Founded as Luther Chapel in 1853, the present church building was begun in 1964. The original church bell from 1853 is in a tower next to the Family Life Center.  Turn left on Caldwell Street.  On the right is First Baptist Church.   The oldest congregation in downtown Newberry, First Baptist was organized in 1831.  The present church, the second on the site was built circa 1908.

Turn left on Coate St.  On the left is the Old Village Cemetery, founded in 1809.  Turn right on Friend Street and then left on Calhoun St.  On the right, at the corner of Main Street is Newberry ARP Church.  Founded in 1854 as Thompson Street Church (where Lindsay Street is now), the congregation moved to this site when the old church was lost in the Fire of 1907.  Across the street on the left is St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  Organized in 1846, the circa 1855 Gothic building was demolished in the Tornado of 1984.  The present church is built in the same style on the same site.
Turn left on Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry, even though we never really left.

 

Thanksgiving Road Trip
November 2013

Today we will travel through scenic fields and forests to discover some of the many things which we have to be thankful for in Newberry County.  This makes an ideal trip if you are entertaining friends and family over the holidays.  You can also use portions of the trip to bypass the interstate if you are off to visit friends and family.
Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  It’s beginning to look a lot like that next holiday with the tree and decorations on the Square.  The gold of gingko leaves are almost gone – a reminder that it is still fall.  Though today the gingkoes are natives of China, fossilized gingko leaves have been found in South Carolina (after all, this is the center of the universe).
 
Go west on Main Street.  To the left at the top of the hill (across the railroad tracks) was the site of Newberry Cotton Mills.  Established in 1883, the mill was the first cotton mill in America that was entirely powered by steam (as opposed to the power of running water).  Turn left on Drayton Street and then right on O’Neal Street.  The rows of nearly identical houses are reminders of the village of West End which surrounded the mill.  O’Neall Street was named for John Belton O’Neall (1793-1863), a prominent lawyer, politician and historian.  His plantation, Springfield, was near here.  Cross Kendall Road (the street becomes Belfast Road).  Cross Bush River.  This “river was probably a more formidable stream through the county before the creation of Lake Murray.  The lake swallowed up ground water, causing area streams to diminish.  An old metal trestle bridge is visible to the left.  Turn left on Harold Bowers Road.  Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  This was once part of a system of roads leading to and from the Quaker settlement on Bush River.  Down the road to the right is the ante bellum Reagan House with its carved varge boards.  Turn right on Hwy 34-121.  Turn left on Ninety Six Road.  This is a vestige of the old road leading to Higgin’s Ferry.  Many curves and loops like this were lost when the highway was straightened in the early twentieth century.  Turn left on St. Mary’s Church Road.  St. Mary’s AME Church is down the road to the right.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  Across Bush River on the left (at the historical marker) is the site of the Quaker Meeting House and the old cemetery.  The Quakers (a sect of Puritans with obvious ties to Thanksgiving) began settling in Newberry in the 1760’s.  Most moved west in the first decade of the nineteenth century, but services were held here until 1822.

Turn right on Mendenhall Road.  Down the road on the left is Carter & Holmes Orchids.  Turn left on Hwy 395.  On the right (after Hawkins Road) in a bend in the road is the Martin House.  This Queen Anne style home was built in the 1890’s.  On the right at Dixie Drive is the Elmore House which was also built circa 1890.  Turn right on Dixie Drive.  Turn left on Glenn Street.  Now we will be passing by houses which were part of the Mollohon Mill village.  Mollohon Manufacturing Company was established in 1901 by the Summer brothers (Charles E., John H. and George W. Summer), and a mill and village were constructed on the south side of downtown Newberry.  On the right is Glenn Street Baptist Church.  In 1903, both the Methodist and Baptist congregations in Mollohon met in the same chapel.  In 1907, when First Baptist downtown built a new church, their old sanctuary was moved to this site to house the Baptist congregation of the mill.  Turn to the right on Adelaide Street and drive by the Newberry County Fairgrounds.  The fairgrounds were built in 1935 on land given to the county by the Johnstone family.  (The right wing of the front building now houses the Ballentine Farm Museum.)

Turn left on Dixie Drive (Hwy 34 Bypass) and head straight into Lynches Woods.  Also part of the Johnstone lands, Lynches Woods was developed into a scenic roadway in the 1930’s and 1940’s by the CCC.  It now forms a leg of the Palmetto Trail.  Visit the park, and, if you have time, try hiking one of the nature trails.  (It’s a good way to work off some of that turkey dinner.)  From the park, turn left on Wilson Road.  Turn right on Fish Hatchery Road.  The Glenmore Shirey Fish Hatchery was established to maintain stock fish for Lake Murray.  Turn right on Morningside Drive.  Turn left on Jollystreet Road.  Along this road are many scenic vistas.  Turn left on St. Paul Road (Hwy 773).  As you approach town, more early-twentieth century houses can be seen.  Pomaria, named for the nurseries nearby, was established as a depot along the Greenville & Columbia Railroad in 1850.  Turn right on Hwy 176 and immediately left on Holloway Street. 

Turn left on Folk Street.  On the right is the old Pomaria High School.  Pomaria School can trace its origins back to St. John’s Lutheran Church which established a school in 1763.  Classes were held in a building near the church until 1921, when the school consolidated with Bethel to form Pomaria.  Also on the right is Pomaria Lutheran Church, founded in 1910.  As you leave town, the road becomes Peak Road.  The farmlands in this area offer views to the “foothills” of Little Mountain.  Turn left on Broad River Road.  Cross the “fills.”  (This is where the water filled up from the dam on the Broad River at Parr Shoals.)  Turn left on New Hope Road.  The twin spires of New Hope Methodist Church (founded in 1795) and its cemetery are on the right.  Turn right on Graham Road.

Turn left on Hwy 34.  (In another century this would be Ashford’s Ferry Road.)  Turn right on Ringer Road.  Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Road.  On the right is the Graham House, a typical farm house with end chimneys and a wide front porch.  Like many older homes, it has two front doors.  Turn right on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  This old road follows its road trace very closely.  This time of year, as the underbrush dies away, the old trace can clearly be seen.  (Look for a wide ditch with high embankments appearing on either side of the road.)  Turn right on Hwy 176 and immediately right on Molly’s Rock Road.  Turn right on Molly’s Rock Road.  Off the road to the right is the rock itself, the subject of much local folklore.   This is a portion of the old highway leading from Charleston to Buncombe, NC.  One of the Forest Service access roads to the right leads to the Mt. Bethel Academy site.  Across the road on the left is the site of the Edward Finch House.  Finch hosted Francis Asbury in 1793 and gave the land for the academy.  Though the Methodist-supported school closed in 1820, its name survived in community schools into the twentieth century.  At the end of the gravel portion of the road on the right is Molly’s Rock Recreational Area with its old water pump.  Turn right on Hwy 176.  Turn left on Old Whitmire Hwy.  On the left at Long Lane is a typical Newberry County Farmhouse from the early nineteenth century.  Turn left on Hwy 121.  Follow this road back toward town.  After crossing Hwy 76, it becomes College Street.  Take a moment to visit Rosemont Cemetery and Newberry College and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Ghost Tales and Spooky Settings
October 2013

The leaves are beginning to change and the air is getting chillier.  The sunsets are beautiful and early and the mornings are coming later.  It’s that time of the year when the long nights are filled with spooky tales and even the most common of settings takes on an eerie timbre.  Camellia Sesanqua is starting to bloom in old gardens while immense cobwebs are forming around houses new and old.  In the woods, most of the color is coming from Dogwoods, Persimmon (both the foliage and the fruit) and Sweetgum, but the recent cold snap will probably bring out more color each day.
Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  From the Square, head south on Caldwell Street.  Turn left on Coates Street.  On the left is the Village Cemetery.  I don’t know of any ghosts in the old cemetery, but it’s about the spookiest place in the downtown.  The resting place of Newberrians since 1809, there are many unmarked graves here.  Turn left on Boundary Street.  Turn right on Jessica Avenue.  The impressive portico of Oak Grove is to the left.  Turn right on O’Neal Street and then left on Langford Street.  On the right at the intersection of Main Street is the site of West End School.  Cross Willowbrook Park.  (Watch for falling Osage oranges!)  Turn left on Crosson Street.  The Newberry Cotton Mills village was the most complete of the mill villages in Newberry.  West End had schools, churches, a park, a cemetery and even a ghost.  Near the end of the street on the right (behind Newberry Middle School) is West End Cemetery.  This is the setting for the “Bride of West End.”  Generations of children grew up in the village hearing about the woman in the white flowing dress who wanders about the cemetery.  She is supposed to be waiting for her true love, who left her waiting at the altar.
Turn right on O’Neal Street, and then cross Kendall Road onto Belfast Road.  Cross Bush River.  On the left is an old trestle bridge.  This is one of several bridges that are locally known as “Cry Baby Bridge.”  According to the various stories the mournful cry of a child can be heard at night and usually has something to do with an untimely death.  Though there are many unexplainable hauntings, this type of isolated bridge is also a common home to bobcats and wild felines which make similar sounds.  Turn left on Spearman Road.  On the right is Caldwell Rock, where Maj. William Caldwell fed his horses shelled corn during the Revolutionary War.  (This seems to be an odd fragment of a tale, but it is a reminder of some of the stories associated with the granite outcroppings in the county.)  At a bend in the road to the left is the old Reagin Cemetery.  Turn right on Hwy 34.  On the left is the site of Shady Grove Methodist Church.  Turn left on Werts Road.  Just beyond the point where the road crosses Turners Creek, a section of the old Greenville Railroad crosses.  Be careful at this intersection, for it was the site of a collision between a school bus and a train.  The accident occurred on December 18, 1946, and resulted in the death of the bus driver and eleven children.    
Turn right on Deadfall Road.  Turn right on Hwy 121.  John Belton O’Neal relates a story in the Annals of Newberry about a man who believed he was being “ridden by witches.”  He was advised to get married so the witches wouldn’t bother him.  To see if he could support a wife, he set an extra plate at dinner for a time, only to find that his “wife” ate too much.  He decided to move to Edgefield instead.  (He later solved the witch problem by shooting a silver bullet at an image of the witch.)  If we keep going in this direction, we’ll end up in Edgefield, too, so turn around at the water treatment plant.  Across the road is the Higgins Family cemetery.  On the right is the Werts House (begun in 1896).  Some people claim there is a ghost cat in the upstairs window.  Turn left on Deadfall Road.  On the right is a large oak tree.  This is a seedling of a large oak that was called the hanging tree.  Legend tells it is haunted by the owner of the old tavern at the crossroads who hung himself in the early 19th century.
Turn left on Main Street and visit downtown Silverstreet.  Turn right on Silverstreet Road. Down a dirt road on the right is the site of Mt. Zion Baptist Church (founded in 1832) and its old cemetery.  Turn right on Trinity Church Road.  Beaverdam Creek crosses this road to form a spooky-looking swamp.  On the right is Trinity Methodist Church and its cemetery.  Trinity was founded in 1835 when the older congregations of Shady Grove and Old Kadesh merged.  On dark nights the sound of horse’s hooves has been heard in the vicinity of the church.  Turn right on Belfast Road.
On a hill to the left, after the intersection of Bel Ivy Road is the site of Old Kadesh Methodist Church.  Even after the congregation moved to Trinity, the church was still used for funeral services.  Legend has it that a woman being buried in this churchyard awoke from a coma in the middle of her service.  In later years, the figure of a woman could be seen peering out the upstairs window.  Turn left on Rocky Creek Road.  On the left is the antebellum Gilder-Sease House.  Turn right on Beaverdam Creek Road.  Turn left on Bush River Road.  Up the road to the left is Bush River Baptist Church.  You’ll get to the old cemetery first.  The congregation was organized prior to 1771.  Turn right on Gary’s Lane.  Turn right on Hwy 76.  (The most golden yellow I’ve seen on this trip is the mustard sauce at Wise’s Barbecue!)  Turn left on Pete Harris Road. 
Across the field to the right is St. James Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1840 as Liberty Hill, the congregation moved to this site in 1889 and changed the name.  Turn left on Jalapa Road.  Turn right on Boyd Road.  Off to the left can be seen bits of the old road trace.  The Old Covenanter Cemetery is somewhere off of this road.  The road bends sharply to the left and eventually becomes Gilder’s Creek Road.  We’re skirting the ridge next to John’s Mountain.  This isn’t the highest point in the area, but it has one of the steepest slopes.  Cross under I-26.  Turn right to stay on Gilder’s Creek Road.  This section of the road trip is a ghost story waiting to happen.  Turn left on David Branch Road.  After all these spooky woods, the road sign looked very alien.  Cross Joshua’s Branch, a tributary of Gilders Creek.  Turn right on Jalapa Road.  Turn right on Beth Eden Road.  There is a really beautiful view of a hillside ahead as you approach the monument and Monument Road on the left.  Commemorating the crash of two B-25’s near here in 1943, this site, too, lends itself well to scary tales.  Cross Gilder’s Creek. 
Around a bend in the road on the right is the antebellum Renwick-Carlisle House.  Turn left on Seymour’s Branch.  Opposite the end of the road is the George Washington Glenn House.  Mysterious blood stains have been reported on the floorboards, the site of an accidental shooting in the nineteenth century.  Turn right on Old Whitmire Road.  The intersection with Hwy 76 and Hwy 121 is sometimes called Devil’s Cross Roads, which seems appropriate for this time of year.  Turn right on College Street.  On the left is Rosemont Cemetery.  While there, listen for the ethereal music described by John Chapman at the end of the Annals of Newberry.  Turn back to the left on College Street and return to historic and sometimes spooky downtown Newberry.

 

A Trip to the Southwest
August 2013

In all the road trips we’ve done, this is the wettest August I remember.  Everything is lush and green except the waterways that are muddy and deep.  Cooler days and a few clumps of Goldenrod remind us that Fall is just around the corner, but Queen Anne’s Lace and Crape Myrtle suggest that Summer is still here.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  From the Square, travel south on Nance Street and turn right on Boundary Street.  Leaving town, Boundary Street becomes Hwy 34.  Cross the north fork of Scott’s Creek.  After Hwy 121 joins in, cross Bush River.  At the foot of Harold Bowers Road on the left is the Welch-Paysinger House, a typical Newberry County farm house, built circa 1830.  Cross Beaverdam Creek and stay on Hwy 121 when Hwy 34 branches off to the right.  On the left, after Deadfall Road, is the Blair-Boozer House.  Its massive double-shouldered chimney marks it as having been built in the early 19th century.  Also on the left is the Werts House which was begun in 1896.  After Long Farm Road on the left is the site of the Higgins House.  The house was later moved to Lake Murray.  The Higgins Family operated a ferry across the Saluda River, just south of the present bridge.

Cross the Saluda River into Saluda County.  Saluda is a relatively new county in South Carolina, having split from Edgefield County in 1895.  Edgefield County, like Newberry, was established in 1785.  The newly-formed county was supposed to be called “Butler” for the prominent family living there, but it was instead named for the river.  “Saluda” is derived from an Indian word meaning “river of corn.”  Saluda (or Salutah) is also the name of an Indian tribe that lived here prior to the Cherokee.  Just beyond Hightower Road on the right is the Coleman House with its impressive portico of Ionic columns.
Turn right on Zoar Road.  On the right is Zoar Methodist Church.  Founded prior to 1830, this congregation was originally known as Persimmon Creek Church.  In the cemetery are many old tombstones and an unusual grave enclosure.  These enclosures over family plots were common in the 18th and 19th centuries, but are rarely seen today.  This one has a wooden roof and a picket fence.  Continue down Zoar Road and “Moo” at the cows in the beautiful pastures with the meandering stream.  At the stop sign (Coleman’s Crossroads), turn left on Shiloh Road.  Turn right on John J. Rushton Road.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 39 (Chappells Hwy).
Turn left on Chestnut Hill Road to visit Chestnut Hill Baptist Church.  Founded in 1809, it is the final resting place of Lucinda Horne.  When the War Between the States broke out, she followed her husband and son to war and became an honorary member of the 14th SC Infantry, Co. K.  Return to Hwy 39 and turn left.  On the last hill before the river, to the left, stands a picturesque mid-nineteenth century house with two-story wraparound porches.  Cross the Saluda River back into Newberry County.  In 1792, Thomas Chappell was given permission to build a bridge over the Saluda River.  The town grew up around the bridge (and at times a ferry) which was to the east of the present bridge.  This was an important crossing on the road to the cotton market at Hamburg. 

After crossing Hwy 34, watch for the large turn-of-the-century homes.  On the right are the old School (now a community center) and Chappells Baptist Church.  When Hwy 56 veers off to the right (stay on 39), the John Scurry House (begun circa 1840) is visible to the left.  An old cotton gin stands down the road to the right.  Shortly after Poplar Springs Road, cross into Laurens County.

Like Newberry, Laurens County was carved out of the old Ninety Six District in 1785.  The county was named for Revolutionary War patriot Henry Laurens.  On the right is Soule Chapel Methodist Church.  Organized in 1850, the church is named for Bishop Joshua Soule (1781-1867) who wrote the first constitution for Methodist churches in America.  Down the road on the left is Cross Hill Mennonite Church.  Turn left on Bethabara Church Road.  On the left is Bethabara Baptist Church, which was founded in 1794.  At the edge of the cemetery, a large granite marker commemorates John Waller (1741-1802), the first pastor of the church.   An early advocate of religious freedom, Waller was repeatedly imprisoned in Virginia for preaching (Baptist versus Church of England).  He moved to South Carolina in 1793.  Return to Hwy 39 and turn left.

Approaching downtown Cross Hill, turn left to stay on Hwy 39.  According to tradition, the community received its name from its location on an Indian pathway leading from the fish dams on Broad River (see last month’s trip) to similar features in the Savannah River.  Apparently someone crossed the path at the hill.  In 1891, the Georgia, Carolina & Northern Railroad (the same one that went through Whitmire) came through and Cross Hill became a depot town.  The large turn-of-the-century homes along Main Street attest to the building boom.  Just across the railroad tracks on the left is the Confederate Monument.  Follow Main Street out to Hwy 72 and turn around.  On the way back into town, turn right on Liberty Springs Road.

At the end of Liberty Springs Road is Liberty Springs Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1787.  Surrounding the church is an extensive cemetery which contains many beautiful old monuments sporting more than a few traditional Newberry names.  Somewhere in the woods behind the church are the springs for which the church is named.  The present sanctuary was built circa 1925.  Head back out to Main Street.  You can see the old Cross Hill School (circa 1928) straight ahead.  Turn right on Main Street.  Just beyond the railroad tracks, turn left on Hwy 560. 

Several of the creeks beyond Cross Hill join with Mudlick Creek a little further downstream.  We’re skirting near the county line here and are not too far from the site of the March 2, 1781, Battle of Mudlick Creek.  Cross Little River.  Turn right on Hwy 56.  Ahead on the right is Belfast House which was built in the early nineteenth century.  The house was built by Col. John Simpson, a native of Belfast, Ireland.  Belfast is now part of a DNR Wildlife Management Area containing 4,600 acres in Laurens and Newberry Counties.  Welcome home to Newberry County.  On the right is Little River-Dominick Presbyterian Church.  Little River Church was founded in 1764 and was the oldest Presbyterian church in the county (until it moved into Laurens County in the late nineteenth century).  Dominick Church was founded in 1913.  The two congregations merged in 1938 and built the present sanctuary.  Turn left on Belfast Road. 

On a hill to the left (just before you get to Rocky Creek Road) is the cemetery for Old Kadesh Methodist Church.  An eighteenth century congregation, Kadesh merged with Shady Grove in 1835 to become Trinity Methodist Church.  On the right is Smyrna Presbyterian Church.  This church was organized in 1838 by the Boozer, Senn and Clary families.  Among the many old monuments in the churchyard is one to Sgt. Henry Boozer (1756-1837) who served in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War.  Follow Belfast Road as it turns into O’Neal Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Origins: Broad River
July 2013

As with the earlier “origins” Road Trip, the focus this month is an integral part of our county that has its beginnings elsewhere: the Broad River.  So, from the Square in historic downtown Newberry, take your best route to Interstate 26 and start driving west.  An early start is recommended.  You can start driving while I cover some background history.

The Broad River runs from the mountains of North Carolina roughly 150 miles southeast to Columbia where it joins with the Saluda River to form the Congaree River and thus become part of the Santee- Cooper River Basin.  Its Cherokee name is “Eswau Huppeday” (and several alternate spellings) which means Line River.  This is appropriate today because the river forms many boundaries along its course.  It was sometimes called the English Broad to distinguish it from the French Broad River which originates in the same part of NC but flows in the other direction.  The Broad River has always formed a portion of the boundary of Newberry County, and before that it was the northern boundary of the Ninety Six District.

Stay on I-26 into North Carolina.  Stop by the Welcome Center for useful information and excellent facilities.  Take the first exit and follow Hwy 108 to Hwy 9 to go to Lake Lure.  At Lake Lure, turn left on Hwy 74-A.  This will take you along the edge of the lake and through the town.  Later it continues to parallel the river through the town of Chimney Rock.  In 1925, the Morse family, which had been acquiring land in the area since 1902, established the Carolina Mountain Power Company and dammed the Broad River to form Lake Lure.  The town was founded in 1927.  When you cross the Broad River, be sure to stop a moment at the Lake Lure Flower Bridge.  When the newer bridge was built, the old one was saved and is now planted as a garden.

At Chimney Rock, turn left into Chimney Rock State Park and cross the Broad River.  (You can get admission prices at www.chimneyrockpark.com .  On the day we went, prices were lowered because a trail was closed for repairs and the elevator wasn’t working.  If that’s the case, prepare for the ultimate “stairmaster,” but over 600 steps upward the view is worth it.)  Chimney Rock is a chimney-shaped, monolithic chunk of granite which has separated from the main part of the mountain.  It soars 26 stories on its own plus the elevation of the mountain.  From the vantage, you can look up and down the Broad River Valley.  The falls at Hickory Nut Gorge form one of the first tributaries to the Broad River.  After visiting the park, be sure to visit Chimney Rock village.  The Main Street stores back up to the river and have a park and walkway along the water’s edge.

To get a little closer to the source of the Broad River, continue up Hwy 74-A toward Bat Cave.  (You may have guessed it – the community was named for a cave with bats!  It’s supposed to be the longest fissure cave system in North America.)  Turn right on Hwy 9.  For a few miles, this road closely parallels the Broad River.  Each time it crosses under the road it gets a little smaller and shallower.  After a couple of miles, you’ll cross into Buncombe County.  Buncombe County was formed in 1791 from the western part of Rutherford County.  (Our word “bunk” for meaningless nonsense is derived from the name of this county.  A long-winded local politician gave a speech to Congress in 1820 which contemporaries called “pure bunkum.”)  We’re still on the Broad River at this point, because there are name associations like Broad River Missionary Baptist Church and Broad River Fire Department.  Eventually the stream dwindles and veers from the road (or the road veers from it).  The last time it appears is near Clear Branch Baptist Church.  The source must be around here because we are nearing the Eastern Continental Divide at Black Mountain.

Turn around and head back on Hwy 9.  When you get to Bat Cave, turn left on Hwy 74-A, and go back through Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.  After the lake, you’ll travel parallel to the river for a while before crossing it.  Stay on Hwy 64/74-A toward Rutherfordton.  Rutherford County was named for Griffith Rutherford who led an expedition against the Cherokee in 1776.  Rutherfordton has been the county seat since 1787.  Just before getting to town, turn right on Hwy 221.  The town cemetery is on the left with the older section affiliated with St. Francis Episcopal Church in a stone building.  Further down the street, there is also a St. John Episcopal Church, a Methodist Church (established in 1825) and First Baptist Church (established in 1851) all on the left.  On the right are the County Courthouse and the Confederate Monument.  There is a children’s museum in the downtown section.  Stay on Hwy 221 heading south.  A few miles south of town on the right is an old mill house with a waterwheel (Hamrick’s Mill).  Cross Broad River.

Welcome (back) to South Carolina!  Cherokee County was established in 1897 from portions of Spartanburg, Union and York Counties.  Cross briefly into Spartanburg County at Chesnee.  This town was established as a depot in 1909 and is named for a Scottish family surname.  Turn left on Hwy 11.  The old downtown is on top of the hill.  Turn left on Hwy 11 north.  Down the road a few miles on the right is Cowpens National Historic Battlefield.  On January 17, 1781, Cowpens became a turning point for the American Revolution.  In less than an hour, Patriot forces under Gen. Daniel Morgan routed the British forces of Col. Banastre Tarleton.  Continue down the road toward Gaffney.  You will know you’re getting close when you can see the giant peach water tower across a field to the right.

Go straight toward the downtown.  For a while, we’re following the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.  This trail was created in 1980 to commemorate the men who traveled from Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina to fight at the Battle of King’s Mountain.  Gaffney is named for Michael Gaffney who established a tavern here in 1804.  It is the county seat of Cherokee and home of Limestone College.  Founded in 1845, it was the first women’s college in SC.  (It went co-ed in the 1960’s.)  Turn left on Limestone Street right in front of the big Baptist Church.  Next door on the right is the old Carnegie Library and a log cabin.  Turn right on Hwy 29 toward Blacksburg.  After crossing Hwy 229, cross the Broad River.  At this point it is wide and muddy from the recent rains.  Turn right on Cherokee Falls Road.

Cherokee Falls was the site of Burlington Cotton Mill.  In the 1970’s Herbie’s Famous Fireworks moved their operation into part of the old mill.  Turn right on Peeler Road, then left at the next intersection.  Turn right on SR 121 (Old Factory Road).  Turn right at the first intersection on SR 43.  Off to the left, the tall hill that is visible is Jefferson Mountain.  Follow this road to the end (it gets very narrow).  At the end of the road is a Duke Energy plant and dam at Ninety-Nine Islands.  The boat ramp offers a spectacular view of a frothy Broad River.  Head back up the road and turn right on McGill Hwy (SR 44).  At the stop sign, turn right on SR 209.  There’s a family cemetery on the right.

Cross King’s Creek (not ours) into York County.  Parts of this county were in North Carolina until 1772.  York County as we know it was established in 1785.  We are now on SR 816 (no turns involved).  A sign for Broad River Baptist Church reminds us that we’re still on the right track.  At a sharp bend we are near Smith’s Ford.  At Hickory Grove, make a sharp right on Hwy 211.  Cross the Broad River into Cherokee County.  Bear to the left on Hwy 105 toward Lockhart.  Bear left again on Hwy 105.  At this intersection, there is a Victorian house on the left with a well and farm buildings on the right.  Cross the Pacolet River (a tributary of the Broad) into Union County.  Like Newberry, Union was subdivided from the Old Ninety Six District in 1785.

On the right is an old farm house with end chimneys.  Its similarity to Newberry farmhouses reminds us we are getting closer to home.  On the left is Mt. Tabor Methodist Church (founded 1832) with an old cemetery.  Turn left on Hwy 9.  At Lockhart, turn left on Hwy 49.  In the 2000 census, Lockhart was the smallest town in SC.  It was named for James Lockhart who built the first grist mill in the area.  In the early 1900’s, a Milliken mill was built here.  The mill houses and the old smoke stack can still be seen.  Cross a canal and then the Broad River (with lots of shoals) into Chester County. 

Chester County was divided from the Camden District in 1785 and is named for Chester County in Pennsylvania.  Turn right on Wood’s Ferry Road (SR 49).  Down the road on the left is Bushy Fork Baptist Church with an old meeting house.  At the railroad crossing, the map says we’re in Leeds.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy121/72.  Cross the Broad River at Fishdam Ford into Union County.  Though the fish dam (or wier) is not very visible in the swollen river, it is a series v-shaped rock dams that the Indians used to herd and catch fish.  It is also the site of a Revolutionary War Battle which took place in the middle of the night on November 9, 1780.  Gen Thomas Sumter’s camp was surprised by and repelled an attack by the British.

This puts us in Carlisle and near home.  Although the seasoned road-tripper should know about a half dozen ways to get home by now, follow 121 back to historic downtown Newberry.

 

June Road Trip
June 2013

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  To say that it has been hot and humid would be an understatement.  Newberrians have always found ways of cooling off.  One historic way was to visit nearby Vanduslah Spring, the site of an 18th century tavern and a popular place for early lawyers who were in town for court.  This was presumably near the present intersection of Nance and Boundary Streets.  For today’s trip, grab a cold dairy product and crank up the AC…

From the Square, head south on Nance Street (through the site of the aforementioned tavern).  Turn left on Milligan Street.  After crossing Caldwell Street, the houses of Mollohon Mill village can be seen along this and the crossing streets.  On the left, across from Mollohon Park is Summer Memorial Lutheran Church.  In 1911 a Lutheran Church was established for the mill village.  The original church was built by the Summer brothers (founders of the mill) as a memorial to their parents, George W. and Martha D. Summer.  The present church building was constructed in 1952.  On the left are Kendall Park and the site of Mollohon Mill.  Turn right on Glenn Street.  Cross Dixie Drive and stay on the road as the numbers reverse and it becomes Glenn Street Extension.

On the left at the corner of Boyd Crossing Road is Ebenezer Methodist Church.  Founded in 1814, the present church was begun circa 1880.  While driving around the county this time of year, watch out for lush green fields.  Not much is blooming except the orange trumpets of Cow Itch vine, ubiquitous orange daylilies and some Queen Anne’s Lace.  Mimosas can be seen at the edge of the woods with puffy flowers ranging from creamy yellow to deep pink.  The flowers of the Crape Myrtle are beginning to be seen in gardens new and old and can also mark old house sites and cemeteries.
Turn Left on Hwy 395.  On the right is Hartford Community Center which is in the old school building of 1927.  Cross Bush River.  Turn right on Dennis Dairy Lane.  Turn left on O’Dell Ruff Road.  Turn left on Deadfall Road.  On the left is New Chapel Methodist Church.  Founded in the first decade of the 19th century, the church was moved to its current site in the 1830’s.  (I guess that makes the previous site “old New Chapel.”)  The present church building was begun in 1879.  New Chapel marks the beginning of Utopia community.  Unlike Thomas Moore’s version (for which this section of the county was named) Utopia is bounded by New Chapel, the Saluda River, Bush River and Stoney Hill.  Off the road to the right at George Loop is the Cannon House which was built in 1867.  It was the home of Dr. D. A. Cannon (1831-1890), a local physician.  In the woods across Beaver Dam Creek was the site of Utopia School which consolidated with six other schools in 1924 to become Silverstreet School.  Across from Hannah AME Church is Hannah School, a Rosenwald school from the 1930’s.  In the 1960’s it, too, was consolidated into Silverstreet.

Turn right on Hwy 395.  Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  Perched at one hilltop, the view ahead to the next hill is what I like to call “Bush River Valley.”  At this point, widening toward Lake Murray, the stream looks more river-like than it does at almost any other point (certainly more river-like than what we saw last month).  Turn right on Fred Kunkle Road.  This part of the trip has beautiful rolling hills.  Be sure to “moo” at the cows as you pass.  Turn left on Harmon Quarters Road.  Turn right on Stoney Hill Road.  On the right is Stoney Hill Community Center in the old school building.  The school was established in 1925 when two smaller schools consolidated.  In 1958, Stoney Hill was consolidated into Prosperity.  On the left is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1828, the present church was built in 1955.  Turn right on St. Luke’s Church Road.  At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 391.

Bear to the right on Walker Road.  Straight across from the end of the road is the Bedenbaugh House, a fine Victorian home.  Turn right on Ira Kinard Road.  On the left is O’Neall Fire Station and Community Center.  Also on the left is Mt. Moriah AME Church, which was begun in 1914.  Like many roads on the eastern end of Newberry County, this road ends at Lake Murray.  When you get to the lake, turn around and head back up Ira Kinard Road.  Turn right on Huston Road. 

Turn right on Bethel Church Road.  On the right is Bethel Baptist Church.  Founded in 1840, the present building was remodeled in 1971.  Down the road on the left is Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1882, the gothic revival church was built in 1890.  Follow the road out to the lake and turn around.  Turn left on Zion Church Road.  On the left is Zion Methodist Church with its churchyard extending to both sides of the road.  Founded in 1813 as Harmon’s Church, the congregation moved to the present site in 1829.  The present sanctuary was built in 1936.  Continue on Zion Church Road.  Turn right on Hwy 391. 

Turn right on Rikard School Road and left in the second entrance to Prosperity Cemetery.  About halfway down on either side is the oldest part of the cemetery.  The Prosperity Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) was established here in 1802.  The church moved into town in 1889.  From the cemetery, turn left on McNeary Street (Hwy 391) and back to the left on Rikard School Road.

Turn right on Macedonia Church Road.  This was once the main road leading to Lexington, but it doesn’t go that far now.  After a while, all roads that branch off will lead to the lake.  In the late 1920’s the eastern portion of Newberry County was changed forever.  Lake Murray was completed in 1930 as the reservoir for a hydroelectric dam on the Saluda River.  It covers about 50,000 acres and is now a major recreational and residential hub for the region.  At the end of the road is Macedonia Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1847, the present church was built in 1914.  Originally in Lexington County, the county line changed in the early twentieth century.  When the lake waters began to rise in 1928, all but one road leading to the church was covered.  Head back up Macedonia Church Road.  Turn left on Edgewater Drive.  At the end of the road is the Higgins-Werts House (circa 1820) which originally stood near Higgins Ferry on Hwy 121 and was later moved to the lake.  Return to Macedonia Church Road and turn left.  Turn left on Wheeland Road.  Turn right on Mill Road.  Cross Stephen’s Creek.  There are some nice views of the mountain from here.  Little Mountain, originally called Ruff’s Mountain, is the highest point in Newberry County at 825 feet above sea level.  It is also the highest point east of Greenville.  Called a monadnock, it is a high ridge of bedrock which has eroded away from a mountain range (the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Welcome to Little Mountain.  Though the area had been settled in the 1750’s, the town itself was established in 1890 around a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  On the right is Little Mountain Elementary School which was begun as a graded school in 1909.  In 1958, the junior high and high school consolidated with Mid-Carolina.  Turn left on Main Street (Hwy 76).   We tend to think of Hwy 76 as the road to Columbia, but actually it goes to Wilmington, NC.  Today, however, it is the road we will follow across the county, through Prosperity and back to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Origins: Bush River
May 2013

This month is a slightly different sort of Road Trip that may be repeated covering different subjects in the future.  Last week I was travelling back home from “off” and realized that I was crossing Broad River, many miles from its intersection with the Newberry County line.  This made me realize that many of our streams, rivers and other boundaries have an existence of their own away from Newberry (the center of the universe).  This month we’re going to explore the beginnings of Bush River and follow its course from the beginning as it makes its way through Newberry County.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  In order to accomplish the goal of our trip today, we need to be someplace else pretty fast.  As a result, I’m suggesting a route that is not often suggested on a road trip.  We’ll get to that in a moment.  From the Square, head east on Main Street and turn left on College Street.  While in town notice the beautiful roses that are blooming this time of year.  Turn left on Hwy 76.  Highway 76 as well as the tracks of the Newberry & Laurens Railroad (which can be seen at varying times to the left, right and underneath of the highway) run along the ridge which divides Newberry County into two watersheds.  Streams to the left end up in the Saluda while streams to the right end up in the Broad.  (They all end up in the Congaree River eventually.)  At Jalapa, turn right on Jalapa Road (wave at St. James Lutheran, but remember that Old Tranquil Methodist was off in the woods to the right).  Turn left on I-26 (toward Spartanburg). 

While zipping up the interstate you’ll see many of the same wildflowers that will be more closely visible on the secondary roads of our return trip.  The shoulders and medians are filled with the dandelion-like blooms of Spotted Cat’s-ear and clusters of the orange-yellow blooms of Ragwort.  Occasionally a cluster of white daisies appears (I always associate them with Memorial Day).  Queen Anne’s Lace is beginning to be seen, too.  Along the edges of fields and forests, purple thistles and honeysuckle can now be seen.
Take the second exit for Clinton (Exit 52 or Hwy 56) and turn left toward town.  Approaching town, the road becomes Willard Road, and after merging with Hwy 308 becomes North Broad Street. 

Clinton (the “t” is silent) was originally a crossroads of the Columbia to Greenville and the Augusta to Spartanburg Roads.  The town was first known as Five Forks.  When the Newberry & Laurens Railroad came through in 1854, a new town was laid out and named for a Laurens lawyer, Henry Clinton Young.  In 1864, a Presbyterian minister described Clinton as “a mudhole surrounded by taverns.”  Since Clinton sits on the same ridge that we were following earlier, the “mudhole” indicates the presence of numerous springs.  Broad Street runs through the business district, passing Broad Street Methodist Church along the way.  The Square is off to the left at Mims Street.  Turn left on Hwy 76.  On the right at Adair Street is the impressive granite building of First Presbyterian Church.  Founded in 1855, the present structure was built in 1930.  Behind the church is the Clinton Cemetery with many fine old monuments.  Go around the cemetery to the other side of the church and head back up Centennial Street, back toward downtown.  After you cross Broad Street, the Thornwell Home is on the left.  This school and orphanage was founded in 1875.  Many of the buildings on the campus are built of granite.  Turn right on Thornwell Street.  This will take us past the Clinton Water treatment plant.  Behind this facility is a low area that forms a small stream that quickly becomes Bush River.

Turn right on Hwy 76 and right again on Broad Street.  On the left at the corner of Centennial Street is First Baptist Church.  Set among big turn-of-the-century houses is Presbyterian College.  The main campus is off to the left.  This long-standing rival to Newberry College was established in 1880.  Turn right on Maple Street.  At the end of the road is a field with a few ponds visible.  The stream which we saw at its beginnings runs along the edge of the tree-line straight ahead.  Turn left on Holly Street and left on Elm Street.  Return to Broad Street and turn right.  Bear right on Hwy 72.  On the left is St. John’s Lutheran Church.  Cross Bush River.  This is the first time the stream is named.  (You have to go really slowly to see the water.)  Turn left on Old Milton Road.  Turn left on Green Plain Road (State Road 50).  At this point we are travelling parallel to Bush River.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 56.  Turn left (it takes a couple of turns – it’s a strange intersection) on Hwy 66.  Cross Bush River again.

We’re approaching Joanna through the mill village.  The old school is off to the right.  Farther along to the right are the Baptist and Methodist Churches.  Originally called Martin’s Depot, this was a stop on the Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  Tradition has it that a local merchant sold his cotton for high prices after the Civil War and the town became known as “Goldville” from his wealth.  The influence of the mill was felt, and by 1950 the town had been renamed “Joanna” after the Joanna Western Company.  At the intersection of Hwy 76, look to the left to see the downtown and Gilder & Weeks Pharmacy (the “Newberry Effect” at work again).  Across the street to the right is the Blalock Family Mausoleum with Blalock Memorial Veterans Park behind it.  Turn right on Hwy 76 (South Main Street).

Again we’re following the ridge line and Bush River is off to the right.  Most of the roads lead toward it but none of them cross it.  At the turn for the Norbord Plant is a sign for Bush River Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility.  Welcome to Kinards and Newberry County.  (At this point we intersect last month’s trip.)  Turn right on Hwy 560.  As we know, this road straddles the Newberry and Laurens County line.  Cross Bush River.  (Although it is not labeled at this point, at least you can see the stream easily.)  Turn left on Bush River Road.  Turn left on Crowder Road.  Notice the ponds in the fields.  Many of them are spring-fed and their overflow contributes to the Bush River stream.  Be sure to “moo” at the cows.  Turn left on Bush River Road.  On the left is the site of the old Bush River School.  At the intersection of Floyd Road and Gary’s Lane is Bush River Baptist Church.  Turn left on Gary’s Lane.  Cross Bush River.  At this point, the stream is wide and rocky (relatively speaking).  Just before the railroad tracks, turn right on Reeder Road.  Turn right on Bush River Road.  Cross Bush River.  Bush River Missionary Baptist Church is off the road to the right.

Turn left on Rocky Creek Road.  (Yes, the stream you cross near the end of the road is Rocky Creek, a tributary of Bush River.)  On the right is the ante bellum Gilder-Sease House.  Turn left on Beaverdam Creek Road.  Cross Bush River.  To the right posts are visible from a much earlier bridge.  Turn right on Bush River Road.  We are once again driving parallel to the river.  Turn right on Thunder Road.  At the end of the Road, turn right on Brown Chapel Road.  Turn right on Belfast Road.  Cross Bush River.  To the left an old metal bridge can be seen. 

Turn left on Harold Bowers Road.  Turn left on Stoney Battery Road.  On the right is the old Reagin House.  At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 121-34 and immediately right on Quaker Road.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  Cross Bush River.  At the top of the hill to the left are the Quaker Cemetery and the site of the old Quaker Meeting House.  It was this congregation that put Bush River on the map.  Bush River Road in Columbia was the road that led to this church.  After crossing Dennis Dairy Road, Bush River continues through Hartford, Utopia and Stoney Hill before emptying into Lake Murray and the Saluda River just a little east of Hwy 395.  We’ll have to visit that part another day, for now it is time to stay on Dennis Dairy Road until it merges with Boundary Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 


Crossing the Line

April 2013

The subtitle for this trip could easily be “Green, Glorious Green.”  With the rains and the warmish weather, every foliate surface seems splashed with vibrant shades of green.  Begin your spring trip on the Square in historic down town Newberry.  From the Square, head east on Main Street and turn left on College St.  While in town keep an eye out for the beauty of spring found in Azaleas, Irises and even a few Roses.  Notice the new trees being planted in Rosemont Cemetery.

Turn left on Hwy 76 toward Jalapa.  Driving along the highways there are plenty of flowers and wildflowers to watch for – bright red Clover, persistent narcissuses, Toadflax, and the pink, purple and blue of Bachelor’s Button.  At the edges of the woods watch for lingering Dogwood and the red flowers of Trumpet Vine (Woodbine).  The bright green of new leaves is a welcome change from the bare branches and dark evergreens of winter.  White or purple Irises (Flags) often indicate old home sites.

On the left at the corner of Beaverdam Creek Road stands a fine ante bellum home.  It marks the entrance to Jalapa.  This small community was named for a town in Mexico in honor of the many Newberrians who fought in the Mexican War.  Across a field to the right is St. James Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1840 as Liberty Hill, the congregation moved to this site in 1889 and changed the name. Down the road on the right is the Glasgow-McCrackin House which was built in 1910.  A little farther along on the left is Wise’s, a favorite spot for local mustard-based barbecue.  Turn left on Gary’s Lane.  Cross Bush River (which at this point resembles more a babbling brook). 

On the left at the corner of Bush River Road is Bush River Baptist Church.  Often called the “Mother Church” of upcountry Baptist Churches, Bush River Baptist was founded in 1771.  Turn right on Bush River Road.  Ahead on the right is the site of Bush River School.  Granite gate posts still mark the entries.  At the corner of Crowder Road on the right is Valley Farm, the Smith House, built circa 1885.  Turn right on Hwy 560.  Cross Bush River.  This stretch of highway runs along the line with Laurens County, so Newberry is on the right and Laurens is on the left.  Kinards was established as a depot on the Newberry and Laurens Railroad in 1854.  It was named for Capt. John Martin Kinard.  He is buried behind Sharon Methodist Church which is visible to the right.  Founded in 1854, this handsome Gothic church was built in 1905.

On the right at the corner of Carlisle-Oxner Road is a wooden general store.  This was originally W. M. Oxner & Sons and was built in 1907.  It is similar to wooden stores that lined many streets in downtown Newberry prior to fires in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  Across the railroad tracks and Hwy 76 is a brick store.  It was built as Smith Mercantile in 1926.

If you went straight across Hwy 76 on Line Road, you’d continue travelling along the county line.  Since Line Road no longer crosses Indian Creek, it dead ends in about a mile.  Turn right on Hwy 76 toward Newberry.  Beyond Kinards on the left is the Gary House, Oakdale, which was built circa 1855.  Turn left on Riser Road.  Mt. Olive AME church is across a field to the left.  A newer church stands in the foreground while the older one still stands across the cemetery.  Turn left on Indian Creek Road.  Cross Indian Creek.  Fairview Baptist Church on the left was founded in 1859.  The present church was built in 1975.  In the cemetery to the side are many Risers, Johnsons and Bufords.

Continue on Indian Creek Road.  Cross into Laurens County.  Like Newberry, Laurens was part of the Ninety Six District until 1785.  The county was named for Revolutionary War patriot Henry Laurens.  Prior to naming it Laurens, Hereford County had also been suggested.  Turn right on Hwy 66 and continue across I-26.  Cross back into Newberry County.

Down the road on the left is Brick House.  (It’s a house built out of brick.)  It sits right on the county line.  Built circa 1830 by Dr. Francis Calmes, the house (along with Belfast back down the county line) bears a resemblance to homes built in Virginia from which the Calmes family came.  Across the road to the right is Brickhouse Campground with the beginning of the Palmetto Trail in Newberry County.  Turn right on Cromer Road.  The old road trace is clearly visible to the right.  It will remain visible on either side of this road for much of the trip.  Driving along this road on a ridge between Patterson’s Creek and Headley’s Creek is like travelling in time.  The road trace recalls the early settlers coming down the Carolina Road from Virginia to clear forests and to plant large farms of cotton.  A glance to either side of the road reveals gullies from the eroded and depleted farm land.  Now, taking the form of a tree farm, the forest begins to reclaim the land.

At Cromer’s Crossroads, turn left on Jalapa Road.  Cross Patterson’s Creek.  Turn right on Hwy 66.  On the left is Whitmire Community School.  Just beyond it to the right is Mollohon, the Herndon House.  Begun prior to 1800, the massive Doric portico and large windows were added circa 1850.  Cross Duncan Creek.

Welcome to Whitmire, the “pearl of the piedmont.”  The town began as a trading post in the eighteenth century and was incorporated in 1891 as a depot on the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railroad.  Hwy 66 becomes Central Avenue as we approach the “old hill” of the 1903 village of the Glenn-Lowry Mill.  The ruins of the mill are visible to the right as we turn left on Park Street.  Turn right on Glenn Street.  On the right is First Baptist Church.  Established as Lower Duncan’s Creek Church in 1786, the congregation moved to Whitmire in 1902 to become First Baptist.  Turn left on Main Street.  On the left is St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1939.  Turn right on Railroad Street and then right again on Church Street (Hwy 72). 

On the right at the corner of Union Street is Whitmire United Methodist Church, established in 1892, with its imposing Doric porticoes.  Turn left on Union Street (still Hwy 72).  On the right is the Whitmire War Memorial Library.  Pass behind the old high school and the water filtration plant and merge onto Hwy 121 and Hwy 176.  Cross the Enoree River (the name comes from an Indian word meaning “river of muscadines”) into Union County.  Like Newberry and Laurens, Union was carved out of the old Ninety Six District in 1785.  The name of the county comes from Union Church, a meeting house where several denominations worshipped.  Stay on Hwy 121 &72 as Hwy 176 splits off toward Union. 

Turn right on Maybinton Road.  If the road weren’t so straight, this stretch would be like driving in the mountains.  On the left is St. Matthew’s AME Zion Church.  This church was built in 1898.  A fellowship hall was added in 2004.  This part of Union County is called Goshen.  It takes its name from the fertile region of the Nile delta where the Israelites settled at the end of Genesis.  After the sign for Jew’s Harp Spring Trail, turn left on Glymph Road.  Return to Newberry County.  (The road becomes Peter’s Creek Road.)  Cross Peter’s Creek.  On the left is the Hardy House, built circa 1825.  It is a fine example of an early-nineteenth century plantation home in the county. 

Turn right on Tyger River Road.  Turn left on Dogwalla Road (staying on the road requires some bearing and bending).  The road passes through some beautiful wilderness area and crosses Suber’s Creek with a one-lane bridge.  At the end of the road, turn right on Maybinton Road.  Turn left on Brazelman’s Bridge Road.  On the left is the site of Ebenezer Methodist Church which was established in 1784.  The church burned in 1974, but the old cemetery remains.  Beyond it on the left is Seekwell Baptist Church.  Founded in 1867 it is one of the oldest African-American churches in the county.  It has an extensive cemetery.  Cross the Enoree River at Brazelman’s Bridge (the old metal bridge can be seen off to the right).  Cross Hwy 176.  On the left is Long Lane Acres.  This home is typical of mid-nineteenth century farmhouses in the county, with its long narrow construction and end chimneys.  Turn left on Hwy 121, follow it onto College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

The Essential Newberry
March 2013

Welcome to Newberry!  Whether you’re a first-time visitor or you were born and raised here or you’re just expecting company from “off,” this trip is designed to hit the high points of the downtown and leave you asking for more.  Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Don’t hop in the car yet!  We’ll start this trip with a short walk around the Square itself.  In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy began her trip at the beginning of the yellow brick road.  Newberry’s historic Square is a lot like that: it’s a starting point for most of the road trips and it is a symbolic starting point for the history of Newberry County.

In 1785, Newberry County was carved out of the larger Ninety Six District.  The new county had roughly the same outline as the present Newberry, but there were no towns or communities suitable for the new county seat.  Believing strongly in centralized government, the county judges debated for four years over the placement of the seat of government.  The problem was that the exact center of the county was a mill pond.  Rejecting the notion of building the court house on stilts, the county accepted the gift of two acres from John Coate, a local blacksmith, near the center of the county.  Today, Caldwell, Main, Nance and Boyce Streets border the land given for a court house and jail.  Coate then made use of the surrounding acreage by subdividing his property into quarter-acre lots on a regular grid of streets.  If you think the streets are too narrow, blame the Coates.

Exactly centered or not, the court house was the preferred landmark of the day for measuring distances.  A granite block directly in front of the old court house steps was unearthed in the 1970’s and records the distances from Newberry Court House to Granby (near present-day Columbia), Hamburg (a Savannah River port near Aiken) and the then-neighboring court houses of Laurens and Edgefield.  Like most of the buildings in the early town, the first court house was a log cabin that was quickly replaced.  Although many early wooden buildings were lost during various fires, the court house was not one of them.  By 1800 a barn-like wooden building served as the court house.  The third court house on the Square was designed in 1822 by Robert Mills.  That court house had a raised Tuscan portico on the Caldwell Street side and a stone jail to the rear.  Excuses have been made since its construction as to why that building refused to stay standing, but it was replaced in 1852 by the present old court house with its monumental Doric portico.

Meanwhile, the town had been growing, too.   Looking west on Main Street, the railroad crosses at the top of the hill.  The arrival of the railroad in 1850 created a boom town in Newberry.  The buildings on the north side of Boyce Street along the Square were built during this building boom in the 1850’s.  They are all two-story brick buildings with shaped parapets to hide their rooflines.  During the 1870’s and 1880’s the town experienced many fires which left their marks on the area of the Square.  Following a fire in 1879, the Bergen’s block (called Mollohon Row) was constructed.  With its elaborate brick designs, this block is an example of how civic-minded businessmen planned to ornament the growing town.  It is currently being re-worked from a more recent fire.  The same 1879 fire damaged the façade of the old court house.  It was during a remodeling following the fire that the unusual pediment design was added.  Keep in mind that this period of rebuilding and prosperity was immediately following Reconstruction.  The tilted “Scales of Justice” would have been more recognized then than it is now.

The urbanizing of Newberry produced a need for a separate city government.  In 1881, this need resulted in the construction of the Newberry Opera House, which served as municipal offices as well as entertainment space.  Today it serves as a hub of fine arts activity in the region.  (If you don’t have time to take in a performance, be sure to stop in for a tour.)

Return to your car for a quick trip around Newberry, hitting the highlights of what’s special about our town.  (Be sure to save some time to visit the shops and restaurants in the downtown.)  Head south on Caldwell Street.  Though we’re not specifically targeting churches this month, we’ll pass a number of old churches on this trip.  Their importance to Newberry’s community life should not be underestimated.  On the left is Central United Methodist Church (founded in 1833).  Turn right on Boundary Street.  On the left is First Baptist Church (founded in 1832).  Turn right on Nance Street.  After crossing Scott’s Creek, look up the hill to the left.  The two-story house is the home of the Newberry County Museum.  The smaller one and a half-story building in front of it is the Gauntt House.  Built circa 1808 by a Quaker family, the Gauntt House is the oldest house in the downtown.  Just as the smaller wooden buildings downtown were replaced as the town grew, most of the older small wooden houses in town were enlarged or replaced over time.  Continue on Nance Street past the Old High School.  Built in 1926 and serving the community as high school, then middle school and now as Newberry Elementary, this building has become a true Newberry landmark.  Turn right on First Street.

Organized in 1912, Oakland was the third of Newberry’s cotton mills and is the only one which is still standing.  Like its earlier counterparts, a village developed around the mill where its workers lived along streets lined with nearly identical bungalows.  The cultivation of cotton and the textile industry had a great impact on Newberry’s economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Turn right on College Street.

Turn left in Rosemont Cemetery.  No visit to Newberry is complete without a trip to Rosemont, where so many Newberrians have their final resting places.  Wandering among the beautiful monuments and sculptural tributes can give a feeling of calm and tranquility.  Return to College Street and turn left.  On the left is Newberry College.  This Lutheran-supported College was founded in 1856.  Though it left town for nine years following the Civil War, it has always been a vital part of the community.  The oldest building on campus is Smeltzer Hall which was completed in 1878. 

Something else that defines Newberry is the great variety of its homes and neighborhoods.  Throughout this trip, look out for large beautiful homes.  This time of year they are accompanied by an assortment of spring blooms including Bradford Pear, Judas Trees (Redbud) and the tiny Star of Bethlehem among the grass of old yards.  Turn left on Calhoun Street.  Turn right on Lindsay Street for a visit to the Wells’ Japanese Garden.  Later, turn left on Harrington Street.  Turn right on Calhoun Street.  Turn left on Main Street and continue through the Main Street Historic District.  At Wilson Road, turn right. 

At the Hwy 34 Bypass, turn left into Lynches Woods.  A favorite haunt of the seasoned road-tripper, this 250-acre tract has a four or so mile drive with several walking or hiking options.  The scenery is beautiful any time of the year, but in the spring watch for Yellow Jessamine and Dogwood.  Continue out of the park along Hwy 34 Bypass (Dixie Drive).  Turn right on Nance Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Southwestern Newberry County
February 2013

Spring is still around the corner and winter is not over yet.  The deciduous trees are still bare, but the tiniest hints of spring foliage are beginning to appear.  Daffodils, Jonquils, Narcissus and Butter & Eggs are still blooming, and now they are joined by Forsythia, Quince and a few plums and other fruit trees.  It’s time to hit the road and enjoy some of the rolling hills, beautiful farms and winding creeks of southwestern Newberry County.  While we’re at it, we’ll probably get a little history, too.  Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

After the rains this month it’s not hard to imagine how bad the streets downtown must have been before they were paved.  A satirical article in the local paper before the old brick paving was installed suggested that the only way to navigate the muddy streets was through a proposed system of canals and locks.  The section from the courthouse to the railroad tracks was to be called “Mudlick Lock,” a name which evokes thoughts of the American Revolution.  Hold onto those thoughts, they may play a part later in the trip. 
From the Square, turn left on Nance Street and then right on Boundary Street.  Watch for sign of spring flowers as you pass through this nineteenth century neighborhood.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  Down the road on the right is the old Quaker cemetery.  Most of the Quakers came to Newberry by way of Virginia and Pennsylvania.  They began settling here around 1765 and remained until the congregation left beginning in 1808.  Many of those families initially moved west into the Ohio River valley.  The old cemetery has a new resident since a Quaker descendant was recently interred there.  Cross Bush River (with recent rains it is almost visible from the road).  After Dennis Dairy Lane, the road becomes Odell Ruff Road.  Cross Beaverdam Creek.  At the end of the road, turn right on Deadfall Road.

While driving through the roads among fields and forests this time of year, keep an eye out for the colors of early spring.  The reddish buds of maple trees are beginning to show.  White blooms of pear and wild plum can be seen in the edges of fields and near farm sites.  Thrift, a low-growing plant, can be seen in masses of purple, pink and white in yards and at old home sites.  The bright yellow trumpets of Yellow Jessamine, our state flower, also herald the coming of spring.  This bloom, which is found in every corner of South Carolina, became an official state emblem in 1924.

Shortly after Deadfall Crossroads, the road merges with Hwy 34.  This is Main Street for Silverstreet.  Founded as Shop Springs, a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad, the town’s name was changed to Silverstreet early in its history.  Turn right on Long Street and left on Woodland Way.  At the corner of Church Street on the right is the old Methodist cemetery.  Turn left on Church Street.  Silverstreet Lutheran Church, founded in 1908, is on the left.  Turn right on Lake Street and then left on School Street.  The old High School Auditorium, circa 1926, is on the left.  Turn right on Main Street.  Across the railroad tracks, the Fant House is visible to the left.  As Hwy 34 veers off turn right on Silverstreet Road.  Turn left on Island Ford Road.  A road leading from Pennington’s Fort on the Enoree to the Indian Island Ford (now under Lake Greenwood) was commissioned in 1770.  That road more closely followed what is now Hwy 560 and part of Poplar Spring Road which forms the border between Newberry and Laurens Counties; however, the name is preserved in this road which has been around since at least 1807. 
Down the road to the left is Windmill Farm, a typical Newberry County farmhouse of the mid-nineteenth century.  There has been some timber cut along here which opens up the vista of “Little River Valley.”  Cross Little River.  This small river drains much of the western part of the county into the Saluda River.  Cross Mudlick Creek.  Down the road on the right is Crossroads Baptist Church.  Organized in 1807, it is an outgrowth of Bush River Baptist Church.  The old meeting house is set amid a beautiful cemetery.  The drive follows the old road trace.  A second road (hence the name of the church) came from the side near the outhouse and does not have a counterpart on today’s map.

Cross Sharp’s Creek.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 34.  Welcome to Chappells.  In 1792, Thomas Chappell was given permission to build a bridge over the Saluda River.  The town grew up around the bridge (and at times ferry) which was to the east of the present bridge on Hwy 39.  On the left is the new Village Post Office.  Stay on Hwy 34 to the very edge of the county.  Just before the Saluda River bridge is Buzzard’s Roost.  Turn right to get to the river access ramp (East Side Fishing Access).  A short walk away is the Lake Greenwood dam, which was completed in 1940.  The Buzzard’s Roost Hydro-electric plant is now part of Santee-Cooper. Return to Hwy 34 and turn left.  When you get back to Chappells, turn left on Hwy 39.  Be sure to notice the spring bulbs around the old homes and house sites.    On the right is the Old School which is now a community center.  Also on the right is Chappells Baptist Church.  Founded in 1892, it has a nice cemetery next to it.  At the intersection of Hwy 56, the Scurry House is to the left.   Begun in the early 19th-century this home was extensively remodeled in the early 20th-century. 

Bear right on Hwy 56.  Among the things that made land in this area so attractive to settlers were the many creeks which twist and turn through fertile farmland.  First, you’ll cross Page’s Creek and then Mill Creek.  Both are tributaries of Mudlick Creek, which in turn flows into Little River.  About two miles up Mill Creek from this point is the site of Caldwell’s Mill.  Three Revolutionary patriots (James, John and William Caldwell) lived there.  Turn right on Mudlick Road.  Cross Mudlick Creek.  The Battle of Mudlick Creek, a small Revolutionary War battle, took place about two miles upstream from here.  The battle took place on March 2, 1781, at William’s Fort and was considered a patriot victory (just barely).  Turn left on Island Ford Road.  Turn left on Sandy Run Creek Road.  There is a clear section of road trace visible to the left.  Cross Mechanic Creek.  Turn right on Williams Road.  After a while, the pavement ends.  (Be sure to “moo” at the cows.)

Turn left on Belmont Church Road.  Across the field to the left, the Washington Floyd House (circa 1845) can be seen.  Turn left on Belfast Road and right on Floyd Road.  The swampy land here is part of Sandy Run Creek.  Turn right on Bush River Road.  On the right is Bush River Baptist Church.  Founded in 1771, it is the second oldest Baptist church in the county and is considered the “mother” church for many of the Baptist congregations in the upper part of the state.  The old cemetery is just ahead on the right.  Turn right on Rocky Creek Road.  Cross Rocky Creek.  The antebellum Gilder-Sease House is to the right.  Turn left on Belfast Road. 

The swampy area at the bottom of the hill is the beginning of Welch Creek.  Down the road to the right is Smyrna Presbyterian Church.  This church was organized in 1838 by the Boozer, Senn and Clary families.  Among the many old monuments in the churchyard is one to Sgt. Henry Boozer (1756-1837) who served in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War.  Beyond the church on the left, the portico of The Oaks, an antebellum plantation is visible across a field.  Cross Bush River.  The old trestle bridge is visible to the right.  After you cross Hwy 121, the road becomes O’Neall Street.  Continue through the West End neighborhood and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

A "Well-Worn Path" for Ernie
January 2013

It’s January, and, despite some very warm weather last week, it really does feel a lot like winter now.  This is the time of year to drive out in the county and look for old house sites, family cemeteries and road traces.  In my family, this is also the time of year when the Christmas arrangements in the cemeteries get changed out for hopeful spring bouquets.  So this month we’ll be following one of my well-worn paths through the “country” to visit friends and relatives who are no longer with us.  On the way, we’ll reminisce about times past.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Hop in the car and turn the heat on.  Head east on Main Street and turn left on College Street.  Winter is the equalizer of the landscape.  The same things that stand out in town will be standing out along the entire trip.  Though the recent warm weather confused a few plants to bloom early, it is the glossy-leafed evergreens which dominate the winter garden.  Camellia Japonica with its shiny green leaves and flowers of pink, white and red (and all combinations thereof) is the dominant floral interest in yards.  Occasionally the lemon-yellow blooms of a “February” bush (winter jasmine) or a white Spirea can be seen with an early bloom.   Though only the bravest Paperwhite Narcissuses are blooming, the leaves of early spring blooms are beginning to push their way upward.  Dark green foliage of Jonquils and Snow Drops and blue-green leaves of Daffodils and Narcissuses to come are appearing all over yards new and old.  All of these plants will help us in our search for old house sites this time of year.  Turn right into Rosemont Cemetery, established in 1863, and take a moment to visit with Newberrians of times past.  Turn right on Smith Road and follow it out as it becomes Pender Ridge Road.  (“Pender” is an old name for “peanut”).  Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.

Down the road on the left is the old Kennerly House, a two story frame home built circa 1900.  Across I-26 is the Brown House, a typical farmhouse with end chimneys made of granite.  The egg-shaped water tower is also visible in the background.  If you remember the mural that used to be on the side of Newberry Drug, this was the house in the background.  The granite in the chimney reminds us that there is a granite ridge which runs almost east to west across the county.  In fact, just down the road granite outcroppings and boulders begin to appear.  On the left at the corner of King’s Creek Road stands a one story frame house built in the mid-19th century.   The old Mt. Bethel-Garmany School is also on the left.  It is now a community center.  Lebanon Methodist Church is on the left.  It was founded in 1875, and its cemetery is down the dirt road to the side of the church.  Just beyond the church on the left, a pair of granite obelisks marks the entrance to an old drive.  The old house is visible this time of year.  On the right, in a bend in the road is the Chalmers-Brown House.  Begun in the 1830’s, it was enlarged in the 1850’s.  The old road trace is visible in many places.

At Hwy 176, jog to the right to stay on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  One of the hardest things to imagine is that during most of Newberry’s history, this was all farm land.  Today it is all pine forest.  What few woods were here in the nineteenth century were deciduous.  Turn right on Mt. Pleasant Road.  Cross Heller’s Creek.  (We’ll see this stream get larger later on in the tour.)  Turn left on Hwy 34.  Down the road on the right is the Munroe Wicker house, a nineteenth century farmhouse with many of its old outbuildings and barns still intact.  Beyond it to the right is the Pierce Wicker house, a typical farm house begun in the 1830’s.  Turn right on Graham Road.   On the right, past St. Matthew Road is the site of Pressley School.  On the right at the intersection of Graham Cemetery Road is the old Graham house, a small farm house built in the early nineteenth century. Cross Second Creek.  This later joins Heller’s Creek.   Turn left on Suber Road (in the middle of a farm).  Down the road on the left is the Suber House with its end chimneys and front porch.  Near the end of the road on the left is an old house site.  The large oak tree, magnolia, camellia and spring bulbs help identify the spot.  Turn right on St. Matthew Road.  Cross a larger section of Heller’s Creek with an ample swamp.  An old road trace to the right indicates that this stream was originally forded rather than bridged.  On the left is St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church which was founded in 1827.  The old cemetery is to the right.  Turn right on Broad River Road.

The Suber-Dickert House is on the left.  Built by the Suber family in the 1850’s, it was later the home of Col. Augustus Dickert.  Down the road on the right is the Crooks House.  Built in 1896, it has a wraparound porch with decorative brackets.  At the corner of New Hope Road is an old store building with its front porch resting on piers made of pebbles and small rocks.  This was Ruff’s Store.   The Parrot House, a mid-nineteenth century farm house is off the road to the right.  While crossing the first “fill” at Heller’s Creek, notice the causeway to the old bridge below on the right.  Down the road is the Cannon’s Creek Fill.  These “fills” were created when the Broad River was dammed for the Parr Reservoir.  Just before Peak Road on the left is the site of the old Hope House, now occupied by a more modern log cabin.  Turn right on Peak Road.  On the right is the old Summer’s Store.  Turn left on Hope Station Road.  On the right is St. Paul’s AME Church.  Next door to it is the old Hope School, a Rosenwald School which has been renovated as a community center.  At the top of the hill, Little Mountain can be seen rising in the distance.  Near the Crim’s Creek crossing, the newest section of the Palmetto Trail crosses the road.  This segment begins at Alston in Fairfield County, crosses the Broad River trestle at Peak and winds up behind Wilson’s Grocery in Pomaria.

St.  John’s Lutheran Church has served this area since 1754 and is usually considered the epicenter for the Dutch Fork.  The “new” church is on the left, while the school, cemetery and old church are on the right.  The old church was built in 1808.  The site of the original church is marked by a granite monument on the other side of the cemetery.  Turn right on Hwy 176.  On the right is the Stuck House which was built circa 1910.  Down the road on the right, a row of Magnolia trees marks the entrance to the Summer family cemetery.  Beyond that is the Summer-Huggins House which was built circa 1826.  This was the seat for Pomaria Plantation and the origin of the town’s name.  A recent clearing of trees across the road opens up the vista to Little Mountain.  Cross Crim’s Creek into downtown Pomaria.  The town was established in 1851 as a depot on the Greenville and Columbia Railroad and has some really nice nineteenth and early twentieth century homes.  Bear right on Holloway Street and turn right on Main Street.  The fancy brick building on the left was the pharmacy and doctor’s office established by Dr. Zachary T. Pinner in 1905.  At the intersection of Folk Street on the right is Pomaria Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1910, its cemetery is a little further up the hill on Folk Street.  Turn left on Folk Street.  Just beyond the old Pomaria School, turn right on Holloway Street.

Turn right on Hwy 176 and then left on St. Paul Road (Hwy 773).  Just after the end of Jollystreet Road is the old Epting House with its wraparound porch.  On the left is St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the victim of a recent fire.  Established in 1761, it is the oldest Lutheran congregation that has always been in Newberry County (St. John’s was in Lexington for a while).  The present granite church was built in 1938 and sits beside a large cemetery.  Be sure to notice the granite bench that protrudes from a tree in front of the church.
Turn right on Wicker Road.  There is a nice two-story house with a porte-cochere on the left.  Turn left on Jollystreet Road.  Follw this road in to Hwy 76 and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Bush River Road Trip
December 2012

Over Bush River and through some woods, and I’m sure we’ll pass some grandmothers’ houses along the way.  The common thread (or stream) running through this month’s Road Trip is Bush River.  After Lake Murray altered the appearance of local waterways, Bush River is hardly more than a creek.  Only when it floods does it resemble the river that flows through the county’s history.  Probably named for the shrubbery growing along its banks (like Brushy Fork and Long Cane Creek in neighboring counties), Bush River cuts across Newberry County from Laurens County to Lake Murray, where it joins with the Saluda River.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  In 1826 in Statistics in South Carolina by Robert Mills, the village of Newberry was described as lying about three miles from Bush River and having 20-30 residences, with several stores and taverns on streets surrounding a Public Square with a handsome court house.  Of course, Mills would comment about the Court House since he had designed it four years earlier.  Today a newer (circa 1852) court house stands on the square all decked out for the holiday season.  A set of steep granite stairs lead from the Square to the upper level of the portico.  In the nineteenth century, that level served as a speaker’s platform during political rallies.  During Reconstruction, the opposing party at a rally refused to yield the platform.  This prompted Col. Dickert of the Pomaria Lancers to ride his horse up the staircase.  The speakers yielded, and some of them jumped off the balcony to get out of the way.  Head west on Main Street (toward the railroad tracks).  The Columbia & Greenville Railroad arrived in town in 1851 and changed the face of Newberry.  Across the tracks on the left is the site of Newberry Cotton Mills.  Begun in 1883, the mill was the first entirely steam-powered cotton mill in America.  Turn left on Drayton Street.  Turn right on Boundary Street.  There are lots of things to notice while you’re waiting at the Boundary Street light.  To the left, across the street, you can see the imposing façade of the Pressley Ruff House (circa 1855).  As you turn the corner, the 1890’s Victorian house was built by Dr. J. K. Gilder (Gilder & Weeks Pharmacy).  The house on the left corner, the Pratt House, was begun as a one-story house in the 1830’s and enlarged upward over time.  On the left, after Jessica Avenue, is the Erasmus Nance House.  This circa 1850 house features a two story portico of square piers.  Stay on Boundary Street as it becomes Hwy 34-121.  Cross Bush River.  It was probably near this point on the river that the British troops were separated by flood waters in January 1781.

Driving around the roads of Newberry County this time of year, the evergreens stand out in the landscape.  Pine, cedar, magnolia and holly offer pronounced greens against a brown backdrop.  Up in the bare branches of deciduous trees, mistletoe and smilax still show green.  With the underbrush gone, features on the forest floor stand out better now than any other time of the year.  This is a good time to find old house sites, family cemeteries and old road traces.  When Hwy 34 veers off toward Silverstreet, stay on Hwy 121.  At Deadfall Crossroads, turn left on Deadfall Road.  The origin of the name of the road is uncertain, but it probably took its name from a deadfall (a mass of fallen trees or underbrush) in the forest by which the road ran.  Off to the left will be New Chapel Methodist Church.  Founded near the Saluda River, the congregation moved to this site in 1833.  The present church building was begun in 1879.  For the next few miles you will be in Utopia Community.  Off the road to the right is the old Cannon House, a farmhouse built in 1867.  Cross Beaverdam Creek.  Near the creek is the site of a school which was established in 1880.  Tradition has it that students at the school were inspired by Thomas Moore’s Utopia to name the community after the fictitious place.  Utopia School was consolidated into Silverstreet School in the early twentieth century.  On the right will be Hannah AME Church and directly across from it Hannah School.  Hannah School was built in the 1930’s as a Rosenwald School.  Turn right on Hwy 395. 

Along this stretch of Hwy 395 are several old farmhouses beautifully set among the fields and forests.  Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  As you go down the first hill, you can get an appreciation for the “Bush River Valley.”  At this point, Bush River is nearly at its widest as it makes its way downstream to join with Lake Murray.  Cross Bush River.  As you cross the river, you pass an imaginary line which separates Utopia from Stoney Hill.  Near the crest of the hill on the right is a turn-of-the-century farmhouse which is typical of homes found in this part of the county.  It’s a two story house with a wraparound porch and a three-sided bay window on the front.  At the corner of Fred Kunkle Road is a similar house in a one-story form.  You will see several homes of this type while traveling this Road Trip. As you approach the heart of Stoney Hill Community, you’ll see the Community Center housed in the old school off to the right.  At the crossroads stands St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  St. Luke’s was established in 1828.  The present building was completed in 1957. 

The oldest part of the cemetery is around the church building.  Turn left on St. Luke’s Church Road and left again on Turner Road.  Turn left on Counts Sausage Road.  Cross Bush River.  At this point, the river is narrower than the previous crossing, but it still presents a formidable stream.  Turn right on Hwy 395.

By this point you may be having a moment of déjà vu, but pathways that were traversable one hundred years ago are no longer accessible because of a lack of ferries and fords in the modern highway system.  Again, cross Bush River.  Near this spot on the river is the site of O’Neall’s Mill.  Having once been owned by John Belton O’Neall’s family, this mill is mentioned a good bit in the Annals of Newberry.  It was also known as Bobo’s Mill.  To the left, across from the end of Cannon Swamp Road is a typical Newberry County farmhouse.  Like those seen on previous Road trips, it is a single room wide with a chimney at each and a porch across the front.  Turn right on Clara Brown Road.  At the corner of Schumpert Mill Road stands the Schumpert-Cousins House, circa 1885.  Turn left on St. Luke’s Church Road.  Off the road to the left, near the intersection of Firetower Road, is the Dunker Cemetery.  The old Dunker Church stood nearby.  The Dunkers were a sect of German Baptists that eventually became part of the Unitarian Church.  They had been closely associated with the Quakers.  Shortly after Colony Church Road, the Rock House can be seen way off the road to the right.  The stone edifice (circa 1760) is the oldest house in the county and originally stood on the old road to Charleston.  (The road moved, not the house.)  Turn right on Hwy 395.

To the left is the Hartford Community Center in the old Hartford School.  Turn left on Mendenhall Road.  To the right will be Carter & Holmes Orchids.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  Ahead on the right is the Quaker Cemetery at the site of the old Quaker Meeting House.  The Meeting here really put Bush River on the map in the eighteenth century.  What is called Bush River Road in Columbia today is part of a series of roads that originally led to the Quaker Meeting.  Cross Bush River.

Turn right on St. Mary’s Church Road.  St. Mary’s AME Church sits in a bend in the road.  Turn right on Old Ninety Six Road.  As the name implies, this road was originally part of the highway leading to Ninety Six which was eventually straightened to become Hwy 34.  Turn right on Hwy 34-121.  Turn left on Stoney Battery Road.  Turn right on Harold Bowers Road.  Turn right on Belfast Road.  Cross Bush River.  As you cross the river, look to the right to see the old metal trestle bridge still in place.  Follow Belfast Road as it becomes O’Neal Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

A Haunted Trip
October 2012

One of the most important aspects of a successful ghost story is a convincingly eerie setting.  As we drive along the byways of Newberry County this month, remember to be aware of the ways in which our beautiful landscape can be downright spooky at times.  All it takes are a few long shadows, the fog rising from a pasture pond or an abandoned farm to set the stage for a ghostly encounter.  This time of year you should also be on the lookout for fall foliage which is becoming more spectacular each day.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  The gingkoes around the Square are turning  a rich golden color as the days grow shorter and the nights grow cooler.  Remembering ghost stories of Road Trips past, head east on Main Street, through the historic districts.  Any of the grand old homes along Main Street would make a fine setting for a spooky tale, and many of them do have a few things that go “bump” in the night.  The large late-nineteenth century homes in town were built by plantation families moving into town following the Civil War and by families profiting from the textile mills which grew up around Newberry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  As you leave the historic district, turn left on Winnsboro Road.  To the left, near the old Pizza Hut, was the original site of Aveleigh Presbyterian Church.  Aveleigh was named for the church of the Johnstone family in Ireland.  It was founded in 1835 and moved to its present site on Calhoun Street in 1852.  The cemetery remained at the Winnsboro Road site until some of the graves were moved to Rosemont in more recent years.  Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road. 

As you head out of town, the colors of fall become more apparent.  The red, scarlet, and burgundy of dogwoods and sweet gum trees mingle with the gold of oak and the orange of maples.  After crossing the interstate, the old Brown House will be off to the right.  This two story frame house with chimneys on the end is typical of the houses built in Newberry County in the mid-nineteenth century.  Also typical of this part of the county are the granite blocks found in the construction of the chimneys.  As you go down Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road, granite boulders can be seen on either side of the road – reminders of the granite ridge that supports the middle of the county.  To the left of the road is the old Mt. Bethel-Garmany School.  Founded before the Civil War, the present school building was the result of the consolidation of Bethel, Garmany and McCrary Schools in 1918.  Down the road to the left is Lebanon Methodist Church which was established in 1872.  The present church was built in 1924.  Next to the church is a road which leads back to the cemetery.  Beyond the church on the right is the Chalmers-Brown House (also called Greenfield Farm).  Begun as a log house in 1840, the home was enlarged with a Greek revival portico in the 1850’s. 

Cross Hwy 176 and jog to the left to stay on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  Along this stretch of road, on either side, can be seen bits of the old road trace.  Roads like this (glorified ditches) were cut into the ridges of hills and had steep sloping sides.  Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Road.  Turn left on Maybinton Road.  Cross the Enoree River.  The name of the river is from an Indian word meaning “river of muscadines.” 

Turn right on Dogwalla Road.  Whatever the origin of the name may actually be, the first section of Dogwalla Road follows the trace of the Broad River Road as it would have continued past the Enoree River at Henderson’s Ferry.  (If this wilderness road isn’t the setting for a good ghost story, I don’t know what is!)  At Sims Road, bear to the right to stay on Dogwalla.  The road eventually turns back sharply on itself (about 145 degrees).  If it were possible to drive straight ahead at this point, you would end up at the river opposite Henderson’s Ferry.  According to tradition, Theodosia Burr Alston travelled this route on her way to Georgetown and spent the night at the Henderson House.  (This was, of course, not the trip on which she vanished without a trace.)  Continue around the curve and up the other side of Dogwalla Road.  The gold of hickory leaves and beeches work their way into the landscape.  Cross a small bridge over Suber’s Creek. 

After seemingly endless miles transporting you back centuries, an alien object appears in the distance.  Don’t worry, it’s just a sign for “stop sign ahead.”  At the stop, turn left to stay on Dogwalla Road.  Eventually the road acquires paving.  Turn right on Tyger River Road.  Turn left on Peter’s Creek Road.  On the right is the Hardy House which was built circa 1826.  This fine plantation house forms one end of a tale that features the “Hound of Goshen.”  The legend of the ghost dog pre-dates the antebellum story which starts at the Hardy House.  The story has its roots in an early nineteenth century hanging.  The victim of the noose had a large white dog which lingered by the hanging tree and howled.  Some time later it was killed, but, not long after that, people in the neighborhood were bothered by a ghostly white dog with a toothy grin.  This last detail gives the dog his other name of “Happy Dog.”  In 1855, a young slave from the Hardy plantation was sent to fetch Dr. Douglass late one night.  He arrived at his destination screaming and could not be convinced to return home until after daylight.  It seems that after he began his journey, a large white dog with a toothy grin came out of an old cemetery and “hounded” him until he reached the doctor’s house.  So, watch out for big white dogs in this neck of the woods.  At the end of the road, turn left on Maybinton Road. (Oops! We’ve crossed into Union County.) The site of The Oaks, the home of Dr. Douglass, is down this road to the right.

Cross back into Newberry County.  Turn right on Brazelman’s Bridge Road.  Off to the left is the site of Ebenezer Methodist Church and its old cemetery.  Ebenezer was founded in 1784.  The church was destroyed by fire in 1974.  Also on the left down the road from Ebenezer is Seekwell Baptist Church.  One of the oldest African-American churches in the county, Seekwell was founded in 1867.  It has a large cemetery.

When you cross the Enoree River, look off to the right to see the old steel frame bridge and the supporting piers for the old road.  According to various stories the mournful cry of a child can be heard at night and usually has something to do with an untimely death.  Though there are many unexplainable hauntings, isolated bridges are also common homes to bobcats which make a similar sound.  On the left (near Crowville) down a drive flanked by concrete piers is King’s Creek A. R. P. cemetery.  This is one of the oldest churchyards in the county.  In more recent years, it is one of the places called Zombieland, presumably because of the large number of table or altar tomb type monuments.  (See last month’s Road Trip.)  Cross Hwy 176 and then Hwy 121 onto Old Whitmire Hwy.

Down the road on the left (near the end of Seymour Branch Road) stands the Dr. G. W. Glenn House which was built circa 1830.  It is a typical farmhouse, but it may very well be haunted.  It is supposed to have a red stain which appears periodically on the floorboards to mark the site of a murder.  Continue on down Old Whitmire Hwy.  Turn left on Hwy 76 and right on College Street.  Stop by Rosemont Cemetery and listen for the ethereal music mentioned in the Annals of Newberry.  Stay on College Street and return to the relative safety of historic downtown Newberry.

 


Funerary Art Appreciation

September 2012

This month we’re going back to art appreciation class by visiting two of our favorite cemeteries and viewing tombstones as works of art.  When Newberry was established, the most common place for burial was in a churchyard.  So, to begin, we will need one churchyard, preferably old.  Starting on the Square in historic downtown Newberry, turn right on Nance Street and later turn left on Pope Street.  Cross Kendall Road onto Bush River Road and keep driving for a while.  To the left of the road, beyond Rocky Creek Road, is the old Bush River Baptist Cemetery.  The church is visible ahead in the distance.  This congregation was founded in 1771 and is considered the “mother church” of many upstate Baptist churches.  Because of the age of this cemetery and the sunken stones, please watch your step.

A Word About Tombstones
The most common form of tombstone is the classical stele (or stela) – a vertical slab of stone providing a space for inscription.  Sometimes, especially in earlier examples, the top of the stone is cut in a series of curves and reverse curves which is called a “tombstone” shape.  Punctuating the skyline of many cemeteries is the obelisk – a shaft of squared stone which tapers to a single point.  These are based on Egyptian architecture (a good source for funerary images).  Monuments which are the same width all around and do not taper like a column or obelisk are called podiums or pedestals.  They are found in classical architecture and often support statues.  Another common form is the altar tomb, which resembles a box and is often topped by a marble slab with a lengthy inscription.  Many of the epitaphs begin with the phrase: “Sacred to the Memory of.”

A Word About Materials
Although slate was commonly used for tombstones in the eighteenth in urban areas, our forefathers usually used what was available locally – wood and fieldstones.  Inscriptions fade from fieldstones quickly and wooden markers do not last long.  This helps explain why many older cemeteries have large empty areas in them.  By the end of the eighteenth century, imported marble and soapstone were being brought down the Carolina Road for use in this area.  Marble lends itself to decorative carving and sculpting and the stone-cutters of the day took advantage of the new medium.  Native blue granite was used for bases early on and free-standing monuments by the end of the nineteenth century.  It is still commonly used today.

Among the tombstone forms found at Bush River Baptist are steles, obelisks and altar tombs.  An unusual material here is represented in a single monument to Annie C. Spearman who died in 1875.  Her grave is covered with a cast iron decoration resembling a pall, decorated with flowers and an urn.

A Word About Symbolism
Symbolism was very important in funerary decoration.  The earliest carved decorations found in this area include classical motifs and nature-inspired designs.  Good examples of these early forms include urns (classical symbols of death) and weeping willow trees (nature mourning).  As the nineteenth century progressed, high relief carving in the form of flowers and animals became more prevalent.  Common floral symbols in Newberry include:  roses (a symbol of honor and sometimes motherhood); lily (emblem of the Resurrection and rebirth); lily-of-the-valley (for sweetness, innocence and purity); palm branch (a reference to the entrance into Jerusalem and pilgrimage); Palmetto tree (a symbol reserved for people who gave their life in service to South Carolina); and a broken rosebud (a symbol of a child whose life was cut off before it had started).  At Bush River, there is a lovely example of the broken rose bud on a small obelisk marking the grave of Sarah Cecilia Leavell (1866-8).   Among the animal motifs are lambs (innocence and sacrifice) and doves (purity, sacrifice and the Holy Spirit).  Sometimes symbols are references to occupation such as books (professor or scholar) or an axe (fireman).  Sometimes a symbol is obscure to the modern viewer, especially if it is from a fraternal order.  The compass and square of the Masons and the logs of Woodmen of the World are the most commonly found of these.  Look out also for the cast iron Maltese crosses which mark the graves of Confederate soldiers.
Turn around and return to Newberry.  Cross Kendall Road onto Pope Street.  Turn left on College Street and right into Rosemont Cemetery. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century, overcrowding in churchyards (especially in urban centers) had led to a reform in cemetery design.  The rural or garden cemetery was typically a large tract of land outside of the city limits, set in a picturesque landscape and maintained by a private company or board of trustees.  Cemeteries such as this were considered public parks and large memorials were often encouraged.  Most sported scenic names like Magnolia (Charleston), Elmwood (Columbia), Hollywood (Richmond) and Rosemont (Newberry).  Rosemont Cemetery was established in 1863 to alleviate the crowded conditions at the old Village Cemetery on Coates Street.

A Word About Construction
Early steles are simply slabs of stone placed in the ground in an upright position.  Without additional support, these stones settle over time causing them to sink, lean and eventually break.  Beginning about 1840, tombstones had bases to act as foundations.  The stele was set into a groove in the base and held in place with large metal pins.  (An example of this construction can be seen on a fallen stone behind the gazebo.)  Altar tombs are usually hollow with some support system under them (burial is still in the ground circa six feet down).  Because there was a local supply of granite available, blocks and slabs of granite were often used to support a marble slab on top.  Where the slabs are broken, you can often see the metal clamps which were used to hold the base together during construction.  The ability to move some of the larger blocks boggles the imagination.
 As you wander past the tombstones, pedestals, altars and obelisks, you may notice the signatures of stonecutters.  Usually, signatures are placed near the back or bottom.  Common ones found here include: Brown (Columbia), White (Charleston), Walker (Charleston), Smallwood (Newberry) and Leavell & Speers (Newberry).  Another tomb form found in Rosemont is the mausoleum.  The very name (referring to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) implies grandeur.  Housing generations at rest, the most prominent mausoleums in Rosemont are the Fair, Caldwell and Gauntt tombs. 

While in Rosemont, remember the words of John Chapman at the close of the Annals of Newberry:  “Of quiet, holy Sabbath days it sometimes gives me a calm, though a melancholy, pleasure to walk and meditate and rest in that Silent City adjoining our town; to muse there upon the brevity of human life.”  After musing and wandering, turn left on College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

A Trip to Edgefield
July 2012

It’s hot as blazes out there!  It’s time to hop in the car and go somewhere just for the pleasure of coming home again.  So crank up the air conditioning and enjoy a trip to a neighboring county that isn’t as close as it used to be.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  The mile marker in front of the Old Court House shows the distance from Newberry to Columbia, Laurens, Hamburg and Edgefield.  In other words, it shows the distance to two then neighboring county seats, the state capital and a trading port on the Savannah River.  In past trips, we’ve been to Laurens and Columbia.  Today it’s time to drive the “forty miles” to Edgefield.

From the Square, head south on Nance Street and turn right on Boundary Street.  Stay on Boundary Street as it becomes Hwy 34-121.  Stay on Hwy 121 toward Saluda.  Cross the Saluda River (at the site of Higgins Ferry) into Saluda County.  Our neighboring county to the south takes its name from the river which in turn is named for the Salutah Indians who once lived here.  Saluda County was established in 1895 when it was separated from the larger Edgefield County (a contemporary of Newberry).

Just beyond Hightower Road on the right is the Coleman House with its impressive portico of Ionic columns.  Coming into Saluda, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church is on the left.  Founded in 1871, this African-American church has an unusual tower and an extensive cemetery.  Just beyond it are two landmarks at the entrance of town – the large barn that houses the farm and garden center on the left and the stockyards on the right.  Stay on Hwy 121.  As you pass through town, be sure to notice the Saluda County Court House on the Square. Next door to the court house is the Saluda Museum in an Art Deco theater. 

A few miles out of town on the left is a marker for the Ambush at Mine Creek.  In November of 1775, loyalists ambushed a supply train near here which started the first Revolutionary land battle in SC.  Persimmon Hill Golf Course is down the road to the left.  Turn right on Bethlehem Church Road to visit Bethlehem Methodist Church (1836-1957) nice cemetery, old school building next door, Return to Hwy 121 and continue toward Johnston.  As you approach the town, more homes with front porches and wraparound porches (remember last month) begin to appear.  Welcome to Edgefield County.  Founded in 1785, Edgefield (like Newberry) was part of the Old 96 District.  The name of the county is supposed to be derived from its original position as the western “edge” of South Carolina.  The original county was the largest inland district in the state with over 1,700 square miles.  It was considered to be more a region than a county.  All of Saluda and McCormick Counties and parts of Greenwood and Aiken Counties were carved out of Edgefield. 

Welcome to Johnston.  This town was established in 1870 as a depot on the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railroad.  Dr. E. J. Mims convinced the president of the railroad, William Johnston, to run the line through the Mims’ plantation.  In exchange, the new town was named for Johnston.  60% of the peaches grown in South Carolina come from the farms around Johnston.  Turn left on Academy Street.  On the left is the Confederate Monument in Mims Memorial Park.  Johnston Elementary School is behind the park.  The park also has a map of walking trails around town.  (This sounds like a good idea for a cooler day.)  Turn left on Mims Avenue (the first street).  On the right is Johnston Presbyterian Church with its unusual tower.  Next to the church is Mount of Olives Cemetery.  Founded in 1876, it has many beautiful monuments.  Take a stroll and remember the “Newberry Effect” with surnames. 

Turn around and continue into town on Mims Avenue.  Johnston has some really nice late-nineteenth century homes with wraparound porches, porticoes and carved brackets.  Turn left on Calhoun Street.  This is the business district running parallel to the railroad.  On the left at the corner of Jackson Street is St. John’s Lutheran Church.  Ride out for a few blocks and look at the Victorian homes.  Turn around and head in the other direction on Calhoun Street.  This becomes Hwy 23 which is part of the South Carolina Heritage Corridor.  On the left at the edge of town is a Milliken plant.  On the left just past Lanier Road is an antebellum farmhouse with a portico of four piers.  On the right is Strom Thurmond High School (proof that we’re getting closer to Edgefield). 

Welcome to Edgefield (the town this time).  Edgefield Courthouse Village was established as the county seat in 1791 because of its central location.  Hwy 23 is Columbia Road coming into town.  On the right on top of a hill is a Victorian home called “Carnoosie.”  On the far left as Augusta Road merges in is Oakley Park (built circa 1835), a museum run by the UDC which commemorates Gen. Martin Witherspoon Gary.  Gen. Gary (1831-1881) was a prominent political figure before and after the War.  Continue down Columbia Road to the Town Square which is off to the left near the top of the hill.  Just about everything is within a few blocks of the Square.  Only the streets around the square are in a grid pattern.  The numerous winding streets really make you appreciate how well Newberry is laid out.  Around the business district you will see a number of brightly painted Turkey statues.  This is a reminder that Edgefield is the headquarters of the National Wild Turkey Foundation (founded in 1973). 

Facing the Square is the County Courthouse.  Built in 1839, it was designed by a student of Robert Mills and is probably very similar to the façade of the courthouse Mills designed for Newberry.  In the center of the Square is the Confederate Monument.  Another war memorial was erected in 1963 for Word Wars I and II and the Korean War (the Vietnam War was added later).  There is a statue of Strom Thurmond which was erected in 1983.  There is also a DAR monument commemorating the ten governors and numerous Lt. Governors who were from Edgefield. 

While in town be sure to visit some of these sites.  Strom Thurmond’s birthplace is at 305 Columbia Rd.  First Methodist Church was founded in 1841.  The present church was built in 1892 and is at the corner of Bacon and Norris Streets.  St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Buncombe Street was built in 1858.  Irish stonecutters were brought to America to build this granite structure.  Trinity Episcopal Church is on Simkins Street.  The present brick church was built in 1836 and has an unusual octagonal tower.  On Church Street is First Baptist Church.  Founded in 1823, the present neoclassical structure was built around the turn-of-the-century.  Behind the Baptist Church is Willowbrook Cemetery (the Village cemetery).  The historical marker says that three governors and the families of two others are buried here.  (Since the marker was put up a fourth governor has been buried here.)  It is also the resting place of Preston Brooks who is notoriously remembered for the caning of Charles Sumner in the US Senate.  This is why the statue of George Washington on the State House is missing its original cane.  The newest governor buried in the beautiful old cemetery is Strom Thurmond (1902-2003).

Further down Church Street is a marker for the site of Edgefield Academy which was founded in 1811.  It was also the site of Furman Academy which was begun in 1826.  Furman University (reestablished in Greenville in 1850) grew out of this small classical school as did the Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  While in Edgefield be sure to stop by the Old Pottery Shop at the corner of Simkins Street and Potter’s Alley.  Demonstrations and lectures are available by appointment.  Edgefield is noted for alkaline glazed pottery that has been produced in the area since the first decade of the nineteenth century.

From the downtown, begin your homeward trek by turning right on Buncombe Street.  On the right is Halcyon Grove (circa 1815) which was home to two governors (Andrew Pickens and Francis Pickens).  Turn right on Hwy 430.  Enjoy the rolling hills, farmlands and forests.  At Owdoms, turn right on Hwy 378 (McCormick Road).  When you get to Saluda, turn left on Hwy 121 and return to Newberry County and historic downtown Newberry.


It's Porch Time!

June 2012

It’s summer.  It’s hot.  It’s time to crank up the air conditioning.  Our forefathers had ways of beating the heat before air conditioning.  They called them “porches,” and that’s what we’re looking for today.  Porches of all types project from the body of a building in order to shade the principle rooms and extend the living space during the warmer months.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Before leaving the Square, take a look at the Old Court House.  The portico of the court house is just an elaborated porch.  (One might say a portico is a porch with allusions of grandeur.)  This one is monumental (having single columns that span more than one story) in the Greek Doric style.  The upstairs porch and the staircase both feature a beautiful cast iron balustrade.  Head east on Main Street.  Looking at old pictures of the downtown reveals that some of the storefronts originally had balconies on them.  Unfortunately, none of them are still in place.  In the first couple of blocks of the residential district (beginning at Holman Street), porches of every description can be seen.  In the 1880’s, a wraparound porch was added to the Martin House on the left.  Wraparound porches can also be seen at the O. L. Schumpert House (circa 1907) on the right and the St. Luke’s Parish House (circa 1905) on the left.  The brick Buzhardt House (circa 1927) on the right has a portico, balcony and porte-cochere.  Keep an eye open for all these types of porches as you make your way through the Main Street Historic District.

As you leave town, Main Street becomes Hwy 219.  While driving around in early summer, watch for Crape Myrtle trees blooming in shades from white to red and purple.  These are found in yards new and old and can be helpful in locating house sites and old cemeteries.  There is still some Queen Ann’s Lace in the ditches and fields and now it is joined by Black-eyed Susan.  The orange blooms of Cow Itch and Daylilies can also be seen.  A cluster of houses between Clayton Memorial Unitarian Church and St. Philip’s Lutheran Church boast a wide variety of porches. 

Bear right on Hwy 176.   Though the area along Crims Creek had been settled by the 1750’s, the town of Pomaria was established in 1851 as a depot on the Columbia & Greenville Railroad.  Turn left on Holloway Street.  The 1895 House on the left has a wraparound porch with gingerbread decoration.  An older front porch is seen at the Folk-Holloway House (on the right just past Folk Street) which was built circa 1820.  Tradition has it that the original center of the town was drawn from this porch.  Down the street on the right is Oakland House (circa 1821) which has a two story porch forming a portico.  On the left is an early twentieth century home with a porte-cochere.  Turn right on Main Street and then left on Hwy 176.  Down the road on the left is the Summer-Huggins House(circa 1826) which is also known as Pomaria Plantation.  Be sure to notice the portico with the two-story porch.  Beyond the house, on the left, a Magnolia tree marks the lane which leads to the Summer Family Cemetery.  Turn right on Parr Road.

This road follows an old trace through the Dutch Fork.  Near the end of Chapman Road on the right stands a house with the old kitchen still standing next to it.  Although it has been enclosed, evidence of the original dogtrot (a covered walkway between two parts of a building) can still be seen between the house and the old kitchen.  Turn right on Holy Trinity Church Road (which becomes Church Street as you approach Little Mountain).  Welcome to Little Mountain.  Though the area had been settled in the 1750’s, the town itself was established in 1890 around a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  Little Mountain is a good stop for today’s trip because it gives the impression of being a town of porches.  Holy Trinity Lutheran Church will be to the right near the corner of Pomaria Street.  Founded in 1891, the present church was built in 1922. Turn left on Pomaria Street and right on Main Street.  Turn left on Mill Street.  This street has a beautiful view of the mountain (monadnock) looming over Little Mountain Elementary School which was begun in 1909.  Be sure to notice the impressive Ionic portico.  As you leave town, Mill Street becomes Mill Road.  There is a curving stretch of road reminiscent of a mountain lane.

Turn left on Wheeland Road.  On the left is the Dan Boland House, circa 1885.  With its bay window and wide bracketed eaves, it is a good example of the Italianate style which was popular in the late nineteenth century.  Down the road, you will cross an arm of Lake Murray which follows the mouth of Camping Creek.  Turn right on Macedonia Church Road.  Turn left on Rikard School Road.  Near the end of the road, turn right into Prosperity Cemetery.  This will put you in the oldest part of the cemetery – back when it was the churchyard for Prosperity ARP Church.  Turn right on McNeary Street.  Founded as Frog Level in 1852 (a depot on the Columbia & Greenville Railroad), the name of this town was changed to Prosperity in the 1880’s.  Prosperity is blessed with many beautiful homes from the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  Keep an eye out for the different types of porches and the beautiful decorations.  Turn left on Church Street.  On the right is the Wyche House, circa 1890, with its wide wraparound porch and fancy gingerbread decorations.  As you leave town, Church Street becomes Counts Sausage Road (yum). 
At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 395. Return to historic downtown Newberry and your own front porch.  If you don’t have a porch for sitting, visit someone who does and offer to bring the lemonade!

Porch – a covered entrance to a building; a room open to the outside air.
Veranda – an open gallery or balcony with a roof.
Balcony – a platform projecting from the wall of a building, often supported by columns or brackets.
Stoop – a porch or platform at the entrance to a house (Dutch “stoep” for veranda).
Porte-cochere – a porch which is large enough to allow access to cars or carriages.
Piazza – what they call a porch in Charleston.
Gallery – a long covered walkway.
Gazebo – a summer house, porch or balcony, generally with a view, which may be separated from a building (a porch without a house).

Road Trip “rule of thumb” – it’s not a porch unless it is big enough for two rockers or a swing.  Anything smaller than that is a stoop.


A Visit to Columbia

April 2012

Over the course of the past decade, our road trips have covered much of the territory in and around Newberry and Newberry County.  One of the unique qualities about Newberry County is that it is adjacent to seven other counties.  We have travelled to all other adjacent county seats except one: Columbia (the seat of Richland County).  So this month we’re going there, the county seat of Richland and the capital of South Carolina.  We can’t see it all in one trip.  There are lots of Newberry connections.  Just remember, Columbia may be the capital, but Newberry is still the center of the universe.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Have a look at the mileage marker on the Caldwell Street side of the square.  You’ll notice that “Columbia” isn’t there.  Instead there is “Granby,” a village on the Congaree River across from present-day Columbia.  This, of course, means that when Newberry was established, the capital was still in Charleston.  Head east on Main Street.  We’re going to Columbia the “old way,” that is not by way of I-26.  The old route used to have slabs of macadam paving so it had a “bump-bump” rhythm to the trip.  That’s mostly gone now.

Turn right on Glenn Street and bear left on Adelaide Street.  Wave at the Farm Museum, housed in a wing of the County Fairgrounds.  Merge left into Hwy 76 and head toward Prosperity.  Hwy 76 runs along the ridge down the center of Newberry County and closely follows the track of the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad (and for a while the old South Carolina Railroad, too).  Since it’s on the ridge, we won’t be crossing over many (if any) creeks.  Creeks forming to the left of the road flow to the Broad River, while creeks to the right of the road end up in the Saluda River.  Watch out for wild daisies, honeysuckle and rambling roses this time of year.  Stay on Hwy 76 through Prosperity and work your way toward Little Mountain.

As you come into town, the mountain (a monadnock) is visible off to the right.  Continue on Hwy 76 through town and head toward Chapin.  Cross into Lexington County.  This county was formed in 1785 when Orangeburg District was divided.  It was named for the Revolutionary war battle in Lexington, MA.  Chapin was established in 1891 as a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  It was named for the Chapin family which operated a saw mill nearby.  Remember to watch for the “Newberry Effect” in place names and businesses.  Cross into Richland County.

Richland County was formed in 1785 when the Camden District was divided into counties.  It is the geographic center of South Carolina.  It was probably named for Richland Plantation which occupied the site of Columbia.  Perhaps the plantation took its name from the “rich” and fertile land in the river bottoms and swamps.  You will pass through the communities of Hilton, White Rock (home of the Lowman Home) and Ballentine, most noted today because of their proximity to Lake Murray.  At Ballentine, bear right on Hwy 6.  This becomes Lake Shore Drive and passes by many lakeside subdivisions. 

On the left at the intersection of Lincreek Road is the Lake Murray Country Visitors Center, our regional tourism office.  The historic Lorick Plantation House (circa 1830) was moved to the site to house the visitors center.  Stop by to find out all the things to do in the area (including Newberry).  Continuing on Hwy 6, turn left at the traffic light on Lake Murray Blvd (a right turn will take you over the Lake Murray Dam).  Turn right on I-26 and head toward Columbia.  (A ride on the interstate is rarely recommended on a road trip, but the old roads have too many traffic lights close to town.)  The capital of South Carolina was moved to the new city of Columbia in 1786 to be in a more central location.  One source suggests that Columbia is the first planned capital city in America.  (It being the first planned capital city that still remains a capital is perhaps more accurate.)  Bear left onto I-126.  On the right you can catch glimpses of the Saluda River. 

The Greystone Blvd. exit leads to Riverbanks Zoo and the SC Botanical Gardens.  Coming into town we’ll cross the Broad River.  Notice the rocks and rapids that made this section of river non-navigable.  The confluence of the two rivers is off to the right.  We’ll also cross the canal that was begun in 1818 to make the river easier to negotiate.  Turn right on Huger (that’s “you-gee” for those from around here) Street to visit the State Museum.  On the right is Elmwood Cemetery (begun in 1854) where you will find many fine nineteenth century monuments.  Next to it is Randolph Cemetery, an African-American cemetery founded in 1871 to commemorate Benjamin Randolph, a member of the General Assembly during Reconstruction.

The old part of Columbia (which concerns us this trip) is laid out in a regular grid of streets running east-west and north south in an area two miles square.  Most of the streets are 100 feet wide, but three streets (two across and one up and down) are 150 feet wide.  Many of the streets are named for Revolutionary War heroes (that’s why there’s a Lincoln Street – for Gen. Benjamin Lincoln).  Taylor Street is named for the family that owned the land where the city is built, and Richland Street is named for the plantation that occupied the site.  Gervais and Pendleton were the names of the legislator and judge who pushed for Columbia to be made the capital.  Washington is named for our first president and Lady for Martha Washington.  Remember that the city was burned at the end of the Civil War (February 17-18, 1865).  84 of 124 blocks were destroyed and over 400 businesses were burned out.

Since the city’s streets are laid out regularly (and you’ll all get maps from the tourism office), the sites for this trip will be given by street address rather than the usual “turn left or right.”  Be sure to drive by the Governor’s Mansion (800 Richland Street).  Built in 1855 as officers’ quarters for Arsenal Military Academy, it has served as the first family’s residence since 1868.  Newberrian Coleman Blease lived there as governor in 1910-14 (two terms).  While in the neighborhood visit the Lace House (803 Richland Street) named for its fancy ironwork and the Caldwell House (629 Richland Street) which is typical of the older homes built in Columbia.  The Garden Club maintains a formal garden around the corner from this house.  The Robert Mills House (1616 Blanding Street), the Hampton-Preston House (1615 Blanding Street) and the Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home (1705 Hampton Street) are among the museum houses operated by Historic Columbia Foundation.  The Hampton- Preston House (circa 1818) and the Mills House (circa 1823) are among the older residences in Columbia.  The old campus or the horseshoe at USC (Sumter Street south of the state house) is very picturesque.  It is hard not to find connections here with Newberry, historically and presently.

There are of course churches of every denomination in Columbia.  Here are few that need to be seen.  Ebenezer Lutheran Church (1301 Richland Street) was organized in 1830.  Although Methodist services have been held in Columbia since 1802, Washington Street Methodist (1401 Washington Street) is the city’s oldest congregation.  It was founded in 1805.  First Presbyterian (1324 Marion Street) was built in 1854.  Its 188 foot spire was once the tallest point in town.  The massive Greek revival portico of First Baptist Church (1306 Hampton Street) was completed in 1857.  The Secession Convention met here in 1860.  Tradition has it that it was spared from burning by an accident of misidentification.  Across from the State House is Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (1100 Sumter Street).  Built in 1847, it was spared from burning because a catholic soldier thought it was a Catholic church.  (The same sentiment did not save the real Catholic Church.)

No visit to Columbia would be complete without a trip to the State House and grounds.  The legislature first met in Columbia in 1790.  The original state house, a large wooden building, burned in the fire and stood in front of and to one side of the present building (where Main and Senate Streets once met).  Begun in 1855, the grand stone State House was not completed until 1907.  Be sure to notice the Corinthian columns which are each carved from a single stone.  They are the largest monolithic columns in the country.  Also notice the six bronze stars which mark the spots where the incomplete building was shelled during the War Between the States.  On the grounds, pay special attention to the cast iron Palmetto Tree (erected in 1852), a memorial to the Palmetto Regiment of the Mexican War, and the Confederate Monument (dedicated in 1879).  The dedication of Newberry’s monument was delayed so this one could be done first.
After a full trip like this, you may be tempted to hop on I-26 for the return.  I suggest following Hwy 176 which is the other traditional old way into town.  However you do it, make your way back to our home county and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Madness of Spring: There and Back Again
March 2012

Spring has burst forth with glorious colors and warm weather.  In the tradition of “March Madness,” there will be some dead-ends and a lot of turning around (the ferries aren’t working anymore), but we will eventually get somewhere, see something different and enjoy the journey.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  While downtown, notice the large granite blocks behind the old Courthouse.  These were part of the old jail which stood on the Square until about 1850.  You’ll also see granite curbs, retaining walls, foundations and sills downtown.  Much of this stone came from three local quarries: one near Molly’s Rock, another off Belfast Road and a third off Nance Street downtown (Graveltown).  Much of the upper part of South Carolina sits on a granite ridge and Newberry is no exception.  We’ll see a good bit of granite on this month’s trip, both in cut stones and large natural outcrops.  From the Square, turn right on Nance Street.  Notice how high the Opera House parking lot is compared to the surrounding drop-off.  The old jail (the third downtown) was torn down in the 1970’s when Nance was widened and its sturdy foundation is still under the parking lot.  Behind the Fire Station is a granite-lined pond that was part of the landscaping around the old waterworks.  Turn right on Fair Street.  Turn right on College Street and left on Evans Street.  Turn left on Glenn Street.  This end of town had a tanning yard (leather – not sun) in the nineteenth century.  The name of Tanyard Street recalls the old industry.  Turn right on Smith Road.  When you cross Wilson Road, the name of the road changes to Pender Ridge.  Notice the granite gateposts.  Turn left on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road.

We went down this road last month, so keep an eye out for granite (natural and cut) as well as the spring flowers.  Last month’s bulbs are still hanging in, but they’re being replaced by vines, shrubs and trees.  On the ground, Thrift and Periwinkle share the stage with wildflowers like Henbit and Johnny-jump-ups.   All through the woods, the trumpets of yellow Jessamine are cascading.  Remember, that’s our state flower.  Pretty soon the purple of wisteria will be joining in.  White blooms of Spirea and the varied colors of Camellias are still found around homes new and old and Azaleas are starting to appear as well.  The purple of Redbud (Judas) and the white of dogwood are beginning to make their spring debut.  Fruit trees (pears, plums, cherries and peaches) are blooming in yards, orchards and along the edges of the woods.  At the end of the road, turn left on Mt. Pleasant Road and stay on it beyond the road to Maybinton (where we turned last time).

Further down on the left is Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church.  Founded in 1822, the present church was built in 1949.  Turn left on Old Blair Road.  After the first intersection, the Suber Cemetery is off the road to the left.  The cemetery is partly enclosed by granite walls.  A well-preserved section of road trace passes between the cemetery and the actual road.  Turn left on Henderson’s Ferry Road.  At the end of the road is the old Henderson House, circa 1790.  The family operated a ferry on the Enoree River beginning in 1805.  Theodosia Burr Alston stayed here on her way back from Philadelphia.  Turn around.  On the right, behind a granite wall, is the Henderson Cemetery.  Return to Old Blair Road.  Turn left.  This road closely follows the trace to Ashford’s Ferry on the Broad River.  When you get to the end, turn around.  Coming back on the right, several sets of old chimneys and piles of brick can be seen to the left.  It’s easy to imagine the old homesteads that once lined this old road.  Add large-trunked Cedar trees and large deciduous trees to the list of things that help mark old house sites.  Turn left on Fellowship Church Road.  On the left is Fellowship Baptist Church.  Founded in 1867, this is one of the oldest African-American churches in the county.  Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Church Road.  On the left is Glymphville Road.  This is near the site of the John Glymph residence.  He gave his name to the community when he became postmaster in 1844.  Turn left on Hwy 34.

Cross the Broad River into Fairfield County on the Harley Bridge which was named Newberry lawyer, Representative and Senator, Aubrey Harley (1908-1974).  Like Newberry, Fairfield was one of the counties formed in 1785 when the pre-revolutionary judicial districts were divided; however, it was part of the Camden District instead of the Ninety Six District.  Tradition has it that the name refers to a statement made by General Cornwallis during the British occupation (1780-1) about “how fair these fields” were. 

Turn right on Strother Road.  Turn right on Catkin Road, cross the railroad tracks and go to the wildlife viewing area to get a closer look at the Broad River.  Turn around and return to Strother Road.  Turn right.  On the way out of Strother there is a creek to ford (not recommended after heavy rains) as the road winds its way through hilly woodlands near the river.  A family cemetery can be seen on the left near the intersection of Native Road.  Some of the trees in Fairfield have Resurrection Fern and Spanish Moss – two plants more closely associated with the Lowcountry.  At the end of the road turn right on Pearson Road.  A large house with a two-story portico (gothic arches in the pediment) is off to the right.  Called “Fonti Flora,” this house was built in 1836 by George Butler Pearson.  When you get to the end of the road, turn around (Lake Monticello is in the way).  Turn right on Ladd Road.  Keep veering to the left to stay on Ladd Road around the recreational areas.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 215.  McCrorey-Liston Elementary School is on the right.  Beautiful green fields (well, this is “Fairfield”) may be part of the Newberry Effect.

Turn right on Monticello Street.  An old store, Monticello Mercantile, is straight ahead.  Turn left. On the left is a granite-faced house with a tile roof.  Turn right on Hwy 215.  Turn right at the granite gates to visit Monticello Methodist Church.  This Greek revival style church was completed in 1861 and today has a spectacular setting on the shore of Lake Monticello.  It has an old cemetery next to it which includes the Pearson family cemetery that was moved when the lake was formed.  The granite gateposts and drainage canals were added in 1933.  Turn right on Hwy 215.  On the right is the Davis House.  This two-story plantation house was built around 1840.  Turn right on Baltic Circle to visit Monticello Park.  This park has picnic areas, a pier and views of the lake all the way over to the nuclear plant.  Turn right on Hwy 215.

brick churchAt the Jenkinsville Town Hall, turn left on Hwy 213.  On the left is Little River Baptist Church.  Founded as Gibson’s Meeting House in 1768, the present structure (with its portico of octagonal piers) was dedicated in 1856.  The Old Brick Church (or Ebenezer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, if you prefer) is down the road on the right with a historical marker.  Though the congregation was established in the 1770’s, the brick church was constructed in 1788.  The impressive building rests on a foundation of large granite blocks.  A granite wall was added around the churchyard in 1852.  In 1803, the church hosted a meeting of ministers and elders which resulted in the creation of the A. R. P. Synod of the Carolinas.  The church also has a note on an inside wall from a Yankee soldier apologizing for the fact that Union forces took the floor boards to rebuild a bridge across Little River.  Outside there is an extensive cemetery with many old monuments.  Turn around and return to Jenkinsville.  Turn left to stay on Hwy 213.

Turn right (still on Hwy213 which becomes Parr Road in Newberry County).  The entrance to the VC Summer Nuclear Facility is on the right.  Named for Virgil C. Summer, Jr., who was at various times president, CEO and chairman of the board of SCE&G, the nuclear power plant stands on the site of the Parr grist mill.  In 1913, Parr Shoals became the first hydro-electric power plant in the state. Cross the Broad River into Newberry County.  Look to the left to see the trestle leading to Peak.  Look to the right (while still keeping your eyes on the road) to catch a glimpse of the Broad River Dam at Parr Shoals. 

Welcome back to Newberry County.  At Hwy 176, turn right toward Pomaria.  Turn left on Hwy 219 and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Anniversary Edition
To Maybinton, Whitmire and Back

February 2012

Before we start this month’s road trip, we’re having a flashback – in February of 2002, Sue Summer called me and asked if I could tell her radio listeners where to go to see spring bulbs in the county.  I put together a map showing some bulb “hotspots” and we discussed it on the radio. The segment became so popular we decided to do it every month and the WKDK Road Trip of the Month was created.   That first trip was just a map with some driving directions, and, though the locations will be familiar to the seasoned road tripper, I think it’s worthwhile to take a look at that first trip once again.

As always, begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Head east on Main Street and start your search for the signs of spring.  Once we get to the residential area, Star of Bethlehem, a small blue-white flower can be seen peeking through the grass around the older homes.  Together with the narcissuses and a few flowering shrubs, these are Newberry’s heralds of spring.  What we call Jonquils, Narcissus, Daffodils, Snowdrops and Butter & Eggs are forms of narcissus which have naturalized to the area. 

Jonquils are sweet-smelling yellow flowers with dark green reed-like stems and leaves.  Daffodils have a pronounced trumpet and Butter & Eggs are a double form.  These latter range in color from greenish white to orange-yellow.  Narcissus is a small sweet-smelling cluster of flowers born on a single stem.  They are usually white, cream or yellow.   Snowdrops have bell-shaped white blooms with tiny green dots and are mostly unscented.  Other blooming plants which make an appearance this time of year include: Quince (a thorny shrub with red or white blooms); Forsythia (a shrub with yellow trumpets on brown branches also called Yellow Bells); and Spirea (a shrub with clusters of tiny white flowers whose double form is called Bridal Wreath).  Camellias are also still in bloom.  The mixture of warm and cold weather this year has confused some of our traditional February bloomers so don’t expect a sea of yellow across the county.  This time of year, any splash of color is a welcome treat.

Turn left on Winnsboro Road (Hwy 34).  On the left is the original site of Aveleigh Presbyterian Church.  Founded near here in 1835, the congregation moved into town in 1852.  Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  This road is a favorite of road trips because it follows closely its original trace.  A road trace is a ditch with high banks that served for a road bed in the eighteenth century.  With the underbrush defoliated, this is a good time to see them through the county.  Beyond I-26 on the left is the old Mt. Bethel-Garmany School.  Garmany School was established near here before the Civil War.  The present building (now a community center) was the result of the merger of Mt. Bethel, Garmany and McCrary Schools in 1918. 

Further down the road on the left is Lebanon Methodist Church.  The church was established in 1875, and the old cemetery is down the road to the left of the present building.  On the right, in a bend of the road is the Chalmers-Brown House.  Begun in the 1830’s, its portico and balcony are the result of an 1850’s remodel.  When you get to Hwy 176, turn right and left again to stay on Mt.  Bethel-Garmany Road.  Off to the left (a mile or two from the road) is the site of Mt. Bethel Academy.  Founded by early Methodists, this classical academy was influential in education during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Church Road.  Down the road on the right is a mercantile building that served as Reese’s Store.  On the left is the Graham House which is typical of nineteenth century farm houses in the county.  Though usually one room in width, these houses are usually several rooms in length with chimneys at each end.  The presence of two front doors was common here and in the lowcountry.   On the left, just beyond Ringer Road, on a little hill is the Darby Cemetery.  Turn left on Maybinton Road.

Cross the Enoree River.  Near the top of the ridge is the beginning of Maybinton.  Once a prominent plantation center, Maybinton is now mostly part of the Sumter National Forest.  Just beyond the Maybinton sign, turn right on Dogwalla Road.  This old road is actually a series of roads which lead to ferries along the Enoree and Broad Rivers.  There are very few signs of civilization and even fewer buildings.  A sharp left-hand bend marks the point closest to Henderson’s Ferry on the Enoree River.  There’s a one lane bridge over a small creek.  After Henderson’s Ferry Road (a Broad River ferry), the present road follows its trace very closely.  It’s easy to imagine early settlers travelling the narrow trace to new homes.  In the yard of an old house, a plum tree also greets the spring.  At the end of the road, turn right on Tyger River Road.  Turn left on Peter’s Creek Road.  On the right is the Hardy House, circa 1825.  Built along the old river road, the house retains much of its original appearance and setting. 

When we cross into Union County, the road name changes to Glymph Road.  Like Newberry, Union was one of the counties formed from the Ninety Six District in 1785.  Turn right on Maybingdon Road (they misspell it in Union).  On the right is a trail leading to Jew’s Harp Spring.  Follow this road until it reaches Hwy 121.  Turn left on Hwy 72-121.  Cross the Enoree River back into Newberry County and the town of Whitmire.  Stay on Hwy 72.  Established as a trading post on the Old Buncombe Road in the 1790’s, the “pearl of the piedmont” became a railroad depot in 1891.  As the road merges with Church Street, Whitmire Methodist Church will be on the left with its imposing Doric porticoes.  Founded in 1892, it is the oldest congregation in town.  Turn left on Railroad Avenue (before the bridge) and left again on Main Street.  Most of the downtown was rebuilt after a fire in 1916.  On the left at the intersection of Gilliam Street is the town hall, built in 1923.  On the right is St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1939.  At the end of Main Street stands First Baptist Church which moved to the downtown in 1902.  Turn right on Glenn Street and then left on Park Street.  At the end of the street is the site of the Glenn-Lowry Mill which is almost completely demolished.  Turn right on Central Avenue (Hwy 66).  The next few blocks pass through “old hill,” the older section of the mill village.  Watch for those spring bulbs.  As you leave town, keep an eye out for Mollohon, the Herndon House, which was begun in the 1790’s.  The massive Doric portico was added in the 1850’s.  Turn left on Old Newberry Hwy.

Off the road to the right is the cemetery at the site of Mt. Tabor Methodist Church.  Mt. Tabor eventually merged with the Whitmire congregation.  Turn right on Hwy 121.  Turn right on Old Whitmire Hwy.  This section of the county is known as Long Lane.  In the early years, the road cut through several large pastures, producing a long lane.  On the right is the Felker House, a turn of the century farmhouse with a wraparound porch.  On the left, just beyond Seymore Branch Road is the Dr. G. W. Glenn House.  The old house is typical of Newberry County farmhouses from the early years of the nineteenth century.  Follow Old Whitmire Hwy back toward Newberry.  At the intersection of Hwy 76, turn left and take a right onto College Street.  Coming back into town, you will pass Rosemont Cemetery.  Take a moment to stroll through the cemetery and return to historic downtown Newberry.


January Road Trip
January 2012

It’s the beginning of a new year.  It may be cold, but the road is beckoning.  It’s time to go someplace just for the comforting joy of coming back home again (maybe for hot chocolate).  This month we’re going to explore some of Saluda County, out neighbor to the south.  We’ll see some woods, farms, towns, churches and cemeteries – and maybe even make a wrong turn or two!

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Before you hop in the car, have a look at the granite mileage marker located on the Square halfway down the Caldwell Street side.  It shows the miles to our historic neighbors and Hamburg (a port on the Savannah River near present-day Aiken).  You’ll notice that Saluda isn’t there.  The marker has been there since at least the early nineteenth century, but Saluda hasn’t.  At the time, it was part of Edgefield County.

From the Square, turn left on Nance Street and right on Boundary Street.  Follow Boundary as it becomes Hwy 34-121.  Cross Bush River and Beaverdam Creek and stay on Hwy 121 when Hwy 34 branches off to the right.  Before you get to the Saluda River, on the right is the George Hugh Connelly Water Treatment Plant.  Built in 1974, this plant treats the water supply for the City of Newberry.  It has a capacity of 8.1 million gallons per day.  Cross the Saluda River (near the site of Higgins Ferry) into Saluda County.

Saluda is a relatively new county in South Carolina, having split from Edgefield County in 1895.  Edgefield County, like Newberry, was established in 1785.  The newly-formed county was supposed to be called “Butler” for the prominent family living there, but it was instead named for the river.  “Saluda” is derived from an Indian word meaning “river of corn.”  Saluda (or Salutah) is also the name of an Indian tribe that lived here prior to the Cherokee.  Covering an area of about 452 square miles and having a population of about 20,000, the county has been traditionally known for agriculture.  Turn right on Hollywood Road and left on Pine Pleasant Church Road.  On the left is the Coleman House, circa 1910, with an impressive portico of Corinthian columns.  Down the road on the right is Pine Pleasant Baptist Church.  This brick church was built in the early nineteenth century.  In the churchyard is the final resting place of Edgar Rice, the first foreign missionary from America to India.  Return to Hwy 121 (called Newberry Hwy here) and turn right.

Coming into Saluda, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church is on the left.  Founded in 1871, this African-American church has an unusual tower and an extensive cemetery.  Just beyond it are two landmarks at the entrance of town – the large barn that houses the farm and garden center on the left and the stockyards on the right.  Turn left on Hwy 378.  (This was actually a wrong turn, but it made for a nice side trip.)  On the right is Travis Park Cemetery.  There are some nice turn-of-the-century homes along here.  We’ll be back to talk about Saluda the County Seat later in this trip.

Enjoy the fields and farmlands – bright green with winter grains.  Cross Little Saluda River (which looks a lot like Bush River at this point), Richland Creek and Beaverdam Creek (must be the “Newberry Effect”).  On the left at the corner of Spann Road is Nazareth Methodist Church.  This modern church is set among an older cemetery.  Turn right on Spann Road.  This time of year, when the deciduous underbrush is bare, watch out for old house sites, road traces (the ditches that people called roads two centuries ago) and family cemeteries.  Everything evergreen is more visible now than at any other time of year and, thanks to the warmer days, the green foliage of spring bulbs is beginning to appear.  Watch out for the tiny yellow blooms of “February” or “Winter Jasmine” that looks like low-growing forsythia. 

Down the road on the left (just before the intersection of Hwy 178) is Julie Amick Recreation Area with the Chapel in the Woods behind it.  The chapel is a new structure of board and batten (vertical boards) with a square tower.  The park was established in 1998.  Across the street is Amick Farms – noted for their poultry.  Cross Hwy 178.  Make a left turn to stay on Spann Road.  On the map, this road is running roughly parallel to Clouds Creek.  Ahead on the right is Good Hope Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1839, the congregation moved to the present site in 1878.  With a few enlargements and a brick veneer in 1962, the 1878 church is still in use.  Look for the “Newberry Effect” in the names in the cemetery across the street.  The education building behind the church was originally Good Hope School which was moved to the site in 1962.  Turn left on Hwy 39.

Turn left on Hwy 23 to visit Ridge Spring.  Founded as a depot on the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad in the 1870’s, this town has some beautiful old homes.  The concentrated downtown of mostly one-story storefronts faces the railroad.  After the downtown on the left is a large old home shrouded in magnolias.  Its front portico has unusual Tudor arches.  Turn left on Watson Street to cross the railroad tracks.  Turn right on Boatwright Street.  There are a number of turn-of-the-century homes with fancy “gingerbread” trim.  This time of year look for the blooms of Camellia Japonica.  On the right is Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1921, the clapboard gothic church was built in 1922.  Across the street at the intersection of Green Street is Grace Episcopal Church, a gothic revival church with fancy bargeboards.  A left turn here will take you to Aiken, but we’re going to turn right.  Turn left on Hwy 23 (Main Street).  Stay on Hwy 23 when Hwy 39 bears off.  At this intersection on the left is a Greek revival house with massive piers.  A small family cemetery is off to the right.  Also on the right is another home with an impressive portico of stylized Corinthian columns.  Peach orchards, bare for the winter months are now everywhere.

Welcome to Ward.  Founded by prominent land-owner and politician Henry Clinton Ward in 1870, this was also a depot on the afore-mentioned railroad.  Originally called Ward’s Depot, the name was eventually shortened to the present one.  (Founder Clinton Ward is said to have quipped it would be “war” if the name got any shorter.)  Turn left on Church Street and pull into the driveway of Spann Methodist Church.  Founded nearby in 1805, the present Greek revival church was built in 1873 and is virtually unchanged since then.  The cemetery has  a cast iron hart and some really beautiful statuary from the Ward family.  There is even a monument to “Bubba” the dog.  Turn left on Front Street (Hwy 23) and then right onto Ward Avenue (Hwy 193).  On the left is a Victorian house with a wraparound porch, fanciful turrets and gingerbread.  Ahead on the left is Ward Baptist Church.  Continue on this road until you reach Hwy 121.  Turn right.

Cross Red Bank Creek.  Welcome back to Saluda.  When the county formed in 1895, there was a lot of discussion about the placement of the county seat (though not as drawn out as in Newberry over a century before).  The community of Red Bank was chosen, streets were laid out and the town of Saluda was taking shape by 1896.  Many of the homes and public buildings reflect the classical revival style popular in the early twentieth century.  Turn right on Church Street.  The public Square and the County Court House are to the right.  On a side street to the right is an old movie theater which now houses the museum.  Follow the street to the end to visit Red Bank Baptist Church.  Founded in 1784, the congregation long predates the town by over a century.  The present church was built in 1911.  Return to Jennings Street and turn right.  Turn left on Butler Street.  Ahead on the left is the imposing Ionic portico of St. Paul’s Methodist Church.  Founded in 1898, the sanctuary was built in 1917.  Turn left on Main Street.  Notice the similarity of the brickwork on the storefronts to those found in Newberry.  Turn right on Church Street.  The mural of the “Treaty of Old Town” is on the right.  Turn right on Calhoun Street.  On the left is Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1903. Turn right on Greenwood Hwy and left on Jefferson.  This becomes Hwy 39.

Turn left on Chestnut Hill Road to visit Chestnut Hill Baptist Church, established in 1809.  Among the graves in the old cemetery is Lucinda Horne.  When her husband and son enlisted in the 14th SC Infantry, Co. K, during the War Between the States, she followed them to war and became an honorary member of Company K.  Return to Hwy 39 and turn left.  As you cross the Saluda River back into Newberry County, look to the right to see the remains of the old Main Street for Chappells.  At the intersection of Hwy 34, turn right and (after crossing the county by way of Silverstreet) make your way back to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Holiday Road Trip
December 2011

It’s the holiday season again.  As friends and family gather, one of the traditional ways to spend an afternoon and reminisce is to get out and drive around Newberry County.  This trip is designed to form a roughly circular path around Newberry, interspersed with interesting sites and tidbits of history intended to spark conversations and fond reminiscences.  It also offers chances to veer off the trip to visit other places in the county.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Be sure to come back after dark to enjoy the light display.  Head east along Main Street and turn left on College Street.  While driving in the city and county this time of year be sure to watch for colorful seasonal displays that seem to pop up everywhere.  Some are old and traditional – appearing every year at this time –while others seem to be more contemporary.  Camellia Sasanqua is still in bloom from the fall while Camellia Japonica is starting its winter bloom cycle.  Some Paperwhite Narcissuses are starting to bloom.  This is the time of year when evergreens are most noticed and anything with berries is in its glory.  Turn left on Hwy 76 and right on Old Whitmire Highway (as opposed to Hwy 121 which is the “new” Whitmire Hwy). 

In the woods to the left after Folk Road is Tea Table Rock, where ladies of the area delayed Tarleton sufficiently to turn the tide of the American Revolution.  Turn left on Beth Eden Church Road.  Beth Eden Lutheran Church will be on your right.  Farther down the road on the right is the monument at Monument Road commemorating the men who were killed when two B-25’s collided near here in 1943.  On down the road on the left is the Renwick-Carlisle House.  This antebellum house was the home of Dr. M. A. Renwick.

Turn left on Jalapa Road.  (If you were to turn right, you would eventually get to Whitmire.)  After crossing I-26, turn right on Indian Creek Road.  (If the road were still accessible, a left turn here would take you to John’s Mountain [a really big hill with steep sides and an altitude of 526 feet] and the site of Old Tranquil Methodist Church.)  Turn left on Riser Road.  Turn left on Hwy 76.  (A right turn here would take you to Kinard’s and off the map into Laurens County.)  Turn right on Gary’s Lane.  You will cross the track of the old CN&L Railroad and Bush River (which looks like a creek at this point).  When you get to Bush River Road, Bush River Baptist Church will be on the left.  Continue on Floyd Road.  Turn left on Belfast Road.  As you make the turn, the Washington Floyd House, circa 1840, will be on the left.  Turn right on Belmont Church Road.

What’s black and white and green all over?  Why, a herd of Holsteins in a new field of green winter grass, of course.  Turn left on Island Ford Road.  (A right turn here would take you to Chappells.)  Take the first right on Silverstreet Road.  Shout “Moo!” at all the cows. Turn right on Hwy 34.  (A right turn here would take you to Silverstreet while a hard right would take you back toward Newberry.)  Turn left on Werts Road.  When you cross the railroad tracks, pause to remember the fatal train and bus collision that occurred here on December 18, 1946, when the bus driver and eleven children were killed.  Turn right on Deadfall Road and stay on it as you traverse the crossroads. 

Down Deadfall Road to the left stands New Chapel Methodist Church.  Beyond the church, on the right, the Cannon House (circa 1867) faces George Loop.  The old two story house is clearly visible in the bend in Deadfall Road.  Near the end of the road on the left is Hannah School, a Rosenwald School from the 1930’s.  Turn right on Hwy 395.  Turn left on Counts Sausage Road.  (Watch out, this intersection will sneak up on you.)  When you cross Bush River, it really looks like a river at this point.  Turn right on St. Luke’s Church Road.  This is a winding sort of mountainous-looking stretch of Road.  St. Luke’s Lutheran Church is, of course, on the left at Stoney Hill Road.  Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  When you cross Hwy 391, the road name changes to Mt. Pilgrim Church Road.  (A left turn at that point would take you to Prosperity.)  Cross Macedonia Church Road.  Be sure to notice Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church on a bend in the road to the right.  The present field stone sanctuary was built in 1934.  Shortly after the church, a hill top offers a view of Little Mountain. 
Turn right on Hwy 76.  Turn left on Caldwell Drive.  (That’s just after the big tree!  To get to Little Mountain, stay on Hwy 76 or sneak up on it by taking the next right on Mt. Tabor Church Road.)  Turn left on Kibler’s Bridge Road.  At one point you will have to make a sharp right turn to stay on Kibler’s Bridge Road instead of Berly Boland Road.  Off to the right is a typical Newberry farmhouse from the mid-19th century.  Turn right on Hwy 773.  After crossing I-26, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will be off to the right.  Founded in 1761, the present granite building was built in 1936.  Turn left on Jollystreet Road. 

Turn right on Boinest Road.  At a bend in the road, at the top of a hill to the left is the Boinest House (circa 1845).  This was the home of Rev. Thaddeus S. Boinest who served as pastor for many churches in the area and was the founding pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.  Shortly after the house, you’ll cross Cannon’s Creek.  Turn right on Hwy 219 and merge in with Hwy 176.  Turn left on New Hope Road.  (Going straight here would take you to Pomaria.)  On the left is Bethlehem Lutheran Church, with its two square towers.  To the left at the end of Hughey Ferry Road stands a typical Newberry County farmhouse from the nineteenth century.  Turn left on Graham Road.  (Going straight here would take you to New Hope Methodist Church for which the road is named.) 

Turn left on Graham Cemetery Road.  On the left at the turn is the Graham House.  It is typical of the small farm houses which were built in the early nineteenth century.  Turn right on Livingston Road.  Turn left on Hwy 34.  The Wicker House on the left corner was built prior to 1840.  Turn right on Mt. Pleasant  Road.  (This is another road named for a Methodist Church.)  Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  (If you kept going straight, you could take Maybinton Road to Maybinton and then take Brazelman’s Bridge Road to meet back up with the trip.)

Turn right on Hwy 176 and right again on Molly’s Rock Road.  The rock will be off to the right.  This road follows the old trace of the Buncombe Road.  It was part of the Carolina Road that brought settlers to the area from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Also down this road is Molly’s Rock Park.  Turn right on Hwy 176.  This road is incredibly straight.  When you cross King’s Creek, you’ll see a really, swampy lowland.  Turn left on Old Whitmire Hwy.  Turn left on Hwy 121 and return to historic downtown Newberry.

Note: This Road Trip is dedicated to the memory of Virginia Medlock who died in November.  She was an integral part of my Road Trip Team and hardly ever missed a trip.  Even before the Road Trip of the Month, she, mother and I enjoyed our Sunday afternoon excursions.  Ernest Shealy


NOTE: The November Road Trip was a repeat of the Thanksgiving 2010's Trip.


Spooky Times
October 2011

It’s that time of year again.  Summer is gone and fall is fighting to show itself before winter takes over.  The days are shorter and the nights are getting longer.  It’s a time for long shadows, falling leaves and beautiful sunsets.  It’s time for ghost stories.  There is something about a ghost story that satisfies a deep need within us: whether it is the grain of truth that adds to the reality of the story or the realization that, no matter how bad things get, they can always be worse.  Newberry has some haunting settings and some areas that are downright spooky, but documented and recorded ghost stories are few and far between.  Our early historians seemed to have taken a scientific approach at explaining away the ghosts.  You won’t find many unexplained stories in O’Neall’s part of the Annals of Newberry.

While driving around to the places in this month’s trip, watch out for colorful foliage and spooky decorations (the spiders seem to have been working overtime).

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  The Square has been the center of activity for downtown Newberry for over two hundred and twenty years.  It is easy to imagine this as a nexus of spiritual activity reflecting the living drama that took place around it.  Here justice was dispensed, people were married, sentences were carried out and news was exchanged – fertile ground for ghost stories.  With one block around the Square currently unoccupied, I expect that tales will soon form around Mollohon Row.  They will probably include stories of old taverns, barroom brawls, lovers’ quarrels, well-dressed ghosts and the haunting sound of tuba music.

While on the Square, look for the ghost at the Visitors Center.  People who have worked in the Visitors Center think that it may be haunted by its founder: Mary Ann Butler Evans.  Mrs. Evans established the “Ladies’ Lounge” shortly after the court house moved into the new building on College Street in 1908.  At the time, there were sitting rooms on the main floor and rest rooms in the basement.  The ghost produces the sound of the Main Street doors opening and closing when no one is around.  She also has been known to turn the basement lights off when they are on unnecessarily; however several repairmen have questioned whether it was necessary to turn the lights off while they were working in the basement.

Across from the southeast corner of the Square stands the old Newberry Hotel.  It was built in 1880, replacing an earlier building which burned in the 1879 fire.  A ghost story associated with the hotel relates that a beautiful woman with long red hair was seen walking up Main Street from the railroad depot one morning.  She was noticed by every man she passed along the street.  She took the corner room of the hotel (the tower) and was seen all day standing at the window, staring as though she were waiting for someone.  She was found dead the next morning.  It was ruled a suicide, and the coroner indicated that the young woman had been expecting a child.  Whether she was waiting for the father to arrive or whether she waited there for some other purpose, we may never know, but it is said that she can still be seen standing at the window of the tower, watching and waiting.

On the other side of the Square stands the Newberry Opera House.  There’s something about the cavernous space of an auditorium and the interconnected rooms backstage that lend themselves to ghost stories.  Maybe the emotions poured out from the stage over and over by traveling shows linger and combine to form a single surviving spirit.  Whatever the case, at least two ghosts have been reported wandering in the Opera House.

From the Square, head west on Main Street.  Turn right on Drayton Street.  At Willowbrook Park, turn left on Crosson Street and keep going.  The Newberry Cotton Mills village was the most complete of the mill villages in Newberry.  West End had schools, churches, a park, a cemetery and even a ghost.  Near the end of the street on the right (behind Newberry Middle School) is West End Cemetery.  This is the setting for the “Bride of West End.”  Generations of children grew up in the village hearing about the woman in the white flowing dress who wanders about the cemetery.  She is supposed to be waiting for her true love, who left her waiting at the altar.

From the cemetery, retrace your route back to Drayton Street and turn right.  Turn right on Boundary Street.  As you leave town bear left on Dennis Dairy Road.  A few miles down the road on the right is the Quaker Cemetery and the site of the old Quaker Meeting House.  The Annals relates a “ghost” story about this site.  Some men in town heard that the dam at Mendenhall’s Mill had broken and it seemed like a good time to seine the river for fish.  This task apparently could not be accomplished without consuming copious amounts of alcohol.  On his way back to town, one of the young men found that he could not make it any farther than the old Meeting House.  Despite stories that the place was haunted, he stopped at the church, went inside and laid down for a nap.  In the middle of the night, he was awakened from sleep by a low mournful groan emanating from the very walls of the church.  He was so startled that he ran all the way back into town where he told everyone he had heard a ghost.  Later it was revealed that another man, after enjoying the taverns downtown a bit too much, had fallen asleep under the church, directly below the first man.  The source of the moaning had been discovered.

Continue down Dennis Dairy Road and turn left on Dennis Dairy Lane.  Turn left on Hwy 395.  When you cross Bush River, you will be near the site of Bobo’s Mill, which is the setting for the “Phantom Rider of Bush River.”  First published in 1860, it is one of the oldest written ghost stories in the state.  Set during the Revolutionary War, it recounts the tale of Charity, a Quaker girl, and her lover, a patriot soldier.  The soldier vowed to return from the war in one year, dead or alive.  On the appointed day he failed to make it back, but that night the sound of his horse could be heard racing up and down the old road.  No tracks were found.  The sound of horses hooves tell of his attempt to return even after death.  (Ghost horses can be heard in several places in the county.  Are these all the same horse, or are there more stories waiting to be told?)

Continue back into town on Hwy 395.  Turn right on Caldwell Street.  Turn right on Coates’ Street.  On the left is the Village Cemetery.  I know of no ghost stories associated with the old cemetery, but it’s about the spookiest place in the downtown.  The resting place of Newberrians since 1809, there are many unmarked graves here.
Turn left on Boundary Street and right on College Street.  Visit Rosemont Cemetery.  While there, listen for the ethereal music described by John Chapman at the end of the Annals of Newberry.  In the past, I have experienced unexplained interference while recording or filming at the site.  (Many years ago I heard horse’s hooves here, but it turned out to be joggers.)  Go back up College Street to return to historic (and spooky) downtown Newberry.


A Hop Over to Prosperity
August 2011

We’ve passed through Prosperity on the last couple of Road Trips, but it’s been a while since we actually stopped to take a closer look.  This month, as the summer heat begins to think about the coming fall, let’s spend some time in the county’s third largest community.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  While on the Square, be sure to notice the elaborate patterns of corbelled (projecting) brickwork on the old Bergen’s buildings in the 1200 block of Caldwell Street.  Newberry had some skilled brick masons in town from the 1880’s until the early twentieth century.  We’ll see similar brick patterns on some of the buildings in Prosperity.  Also from the Square, look west toward the top of the hill and the railroad tracks.  Just as the coming of the South Carolina Railroad in 1851 gave Newberry a big economic boost, that same railroad had a depot in what became Prosperity.

From the Square, head east on Main Street.  As in many older cities, large residences were built along the main street through town.  Newberry is no exception.  As we drive out Main Street notice the grand homes which cluster around the downtown.  Turn right on Glenn Street.  Turn left on Adelaide Street.  On the left, in the far building of the Newberry Fairgrounds is the Ballentine Farm Museum (which will be open next month for the Ag Expo).

Bear to the right onto Hwy 76.  This highway follows the ridge through Newberry County and runs parallel to the tracks of the old South Carolina Railroad and the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  It also very roughly parallels an old road which ended up in Charleston.  On the right at the corner of Colony Church Road is Colony Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1845, this church is about halfway between the older congregations of St. Paul’s and St. Luke’s.
Bear right on North Main Street.  On the hill to the right is the Wise-Connelly House, circa 1852, with its portico.  On the left is Wightman Methodist Church.  The origins of this congregation date back to Bethesda Church which was founded in 1848 about a mile south of town.  The present sanctuary was completed in 1968.  On the left is the Bowers House (circa 1881) which was originally built to house Wightman Church but was converted to a residence in 1928 when a new church was constructed.  On the right, just passed the Post Office was the site of the Wise Hotel. 

Welcome to downtown Prosperity.  Pull into a parking lot on the Square and have a walk around the business district.  The name “Prosperity” was first associated with this area in 1802 when Prosperity ARP Church was established nearby.  The first Post Office was created in 1827 under the name “Stoney Battery” but was changed to “Frog Level” in 1832.  The three names were used off and on by the community and the Post Office until 1851 when the town of Frog Level was incorporated as a depot on the South Carolina Railroad.  The name was officially changed to Prosperity in 1873.

The origin of the name “Frog Level” like so many place names in the county is shrouded in legend.  One legend suggests that a young lady coming from church stopped at a pond near here to water her horse.  Noting the number of croaking frogs, she exclaimed, “This must be frog level.”  The alternative version has an old man getting drunk and lying by a pond.  He was awakened to a chorus of frogs crying, “Frog level!”  What can be said for certain is that the present town sits on a plain at about 550 feet above sea level along the ridge that runs down the center of the county.  Springs in the area form a series of ponds that act as the headwaters for several creeks flowing toward the Broad and Saluda Rivers.

On the Square are a gazebo and a fountain along with several commemorative monuments.  The town clock was erected to honor J. Walter Hamm who served as mayor from 1966 until 1991.  There is also a time capsule buried on site in 2003 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Literary Sorosis, Prosperity’s oldest civic organization.  A large flower bed acts as a memorial to the town’s Confederate veterans. 

Commercial buildings around the Square and continuing up Main Street reflect the prosperous era of the town from the 1880’s through the 1930’s.  Most of the buildings are brick with the corbelled decoration mentioned earlier.  Several buildings from the 1930’s and 1940’s are constructed of local granite.  The depot for the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad, which arrived in town in 1886 is on the end of the Square at the railroad tracks.  It is currently being restored.  Across the railroad tracks is Grace Lutheran Church. 

Founded in 1859 as Newville, the name was changed to Grace in 1878.  On the corner of Grace and Main Streets is the Moseley Building.  Though established in 1866, the brick storefront with cast iron pilasters across the front was built in 1886.  Along the Main Street side is a mural depicting the porch of the Wise Hotel.  You may wish to visit some of the shops and restaurants before getting back in the car and continuing the tour.

Most of the buildings downtown are brick storefronts of one or two stories.  Keep an eye out for the corbelled decoration.  Prosperity Drug Co. has a shaped parapet.  On the right is a one-story granite building (laundromat) constructed in 1935.  It has a map of South Carolina on the front with each county represented by a block of granite.  On the right in a three-story brick building is the Prosperity Masonic Lodge.  The lodge was established in 1866, but the present building was built in 1915.  Turn right on Broad Street (following Hwy 391).  On the left along the tracks of the South Carolina Railroad is the Frog Level Art Center.  To the right (about a block down McNeary Street) is the site of the original frog pond.  On the corner of Church Street stands the Dr. C.T. Wyche house.  Dr. Wyche (a prominent local doctor who also served as mayor) built the house with its fancy gingerbread decoration in 1890.  All along McNeary Street are homes from the turn of the twentieth century.  Many of these have wraparound porches, bay windows and gingerbread decoration.  The name of the street seems to have taken its name from McNeary’s Ferry on the Saluda River (now under Lake Murray). 

On the right, at the edge of town is Prosperity Cemetery.  The cemetery was begun as part of the Prosperity ARP Church but was later adopted by the community.  The oldest part of the cemetery is in the middle back and has early markers from the old church.  Along the front are large marble monuments which, like the houses in town, reflect the prosperous years of the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.  Turn around and drive back through historic Prosperity on your way back to historic downtown Newberry.


Beat the Heat

July 2011

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  To say that it has been hot would be an understatement.  Newberians have always found ways of cooling off.  One historic way was to visit nearby Vanduslah Spring, the site of an 18th century tavern and a popular place for early lawyers in town for court.  This was presumably near the present intersection of Nance and Boundary Streets.  For today’s trip, grab a cold dairy product and crank up the AC…

From the Square, head south on Nance Street.  Turn left on Ebenezer Road.  On the right is Timberhouse.  This mid-nineteenth century plantation house was built by Jacob Kibler.  In the late-nineteenth century it was the home of Congressman George Johnstone.  Turn right on Glenn Street Extension.  On the left is the Church of Latter Day Saints which was established in 1975.  On the left at the corner of Boyd Crossing Road is Ebenezer Methodist Church.  Founded in 1814, the present church was begun circa 1880.  While driving around the county this time of year, watch out for withering fields.  Not much is blooming in the heat except the orange trumpets of Cow Itch vine and the yellow flowers of Bitterweed.  Some Queen Anne’s Lace can still be found and, rarely, a few blooms of Maypop (passion flower) can be seen along the roadways.  The flowers of the Crape Myrtle are seen in gardens new and old and can also mark old house sites and cemeteries.

Turn Left on Hwy 395.  On the right is Hartford Community Center which is in the old school building of 1927.  Down the road on the right is the Buzhardt House, a typical mid-nineteenth century farm house. Turn left on Clara Brown Road.  On the right at the corner of Schumpert Mill Road is the Schumpert-Cousins House, circa 1885.  As you approach Prosperity, on the left is the Moseley House which was built in 1880 with a beautiful two-story porch.  Across the railroad tracks, in front of Prosperity Town Hall is the site of Crosson Field School.  Begun in the late 1860’s, it was the first public school in the county.  Turn right on Main Street.  Enjoy the bustling business district of downtown Prosperity.

Stay on Main Street as it returns to the residential area.  Prosperity has many fine late-nineteenth century homes.  On the left at the corner of Pine Street is the Schumpert-Bedenbaugh House which was begun in 1892 and remodeled in the 1940’s.  On the right, set back from the road, is the Luther House with its two-story portico and balcony.  It was built in 1880. Stay on Main Street as it becomes Macedonia Church Road.  This was once the main road leading to Lexington, but it doesn’t go that far now.  After a while, all roads that branch off will lead to the lake.  In the late 1920’s the eastern portion of Newberry County was changed forever.  Lake Murray was completed in 1930 as the reservoir for a hydroelectric dam on the Saluda River.  At the end of the road is Macedonia Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1847, the present church was built in 1914.  Originally in Lexington County, the county line changed in the early twentieth century.  When the lake waters began to rise in 1928, all but one road leading to the church was covered.  Head back up Macedonia Church Road.  Turn left on Edgewater Drive.  At the end of the road is the Higgins-Werts House (circa 1820) which originally stood near Higgins Ferry on Hwy 121 and was later moved to the lake.  Return to Macedonia Church Road and turn left.  Turn right on Dreher Island Road.

Turn down State Park Road (there is a sign for the park) to visit Dreher Island State Park.  Now a major camping attraction on Lake Murray, Dreher Island was used in the 1940’s as a training ground for the Army Air Corps.  Return to Dreher Island Road and turn right.  Cross the Camping Creek arm of the lake at Adams Camp Bridge.  Adams Camp was one of the places to go for fish fries in the late 1930’s and 1940’s. 

You are now in Lexington County.  This county was formed in 1785 when Orangeburg District was divided.  It was named for the Revolutionary war battle in Lexington, MA.  On a rather sharp bend in the road is St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.  The church is to the left and the cemetery is to the right.  The church in the “piney woods” was one end of Piney Grove Road that now is on the outskirts of Columbia.  St. Peter’s is nine miles from St. John’s and was established in 1794 when some of St. John’s congregation got tired of walking all the way back to nearby farms.

Stay on Dreher Island Road.  This becomes a very winding, mountainous road.  Every now and again you can catch a glimpse of Little Mountain off to the left.  At some point, this road crosses back into Newberry County.  It isn’t marked, this is part of a disputed boundary.  At some point, the road becomes Mountain Street in Little Mountain.  The road ends at Hwy 76 directly across from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (begun in 1891 and mentioned in last month’s trip).  Turn right on Hwy 76.

Hwy 76 is the road to Columbia (at least for folks around here – actually it goes to Wilmington, NC).  Cross back into Lexington County.  Welcome to Chapin.  Chapin was established in 1891 as a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  Turn left at the traffic light and cross the railroad tracks onto Columbia Avenue.  On the right is Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1891, the present church building was completed in 1963.  Off to the right you can see parts of the old downtown.  There are a number of houses from the turn of the twentieth century with gingerbread and wraparound porches.  On the left is Mt. Horeb Cemetery with its fieldstone walls and arch.  Chapin High School is on the right.
Cross I-26.  On a bend in the road is St. Jacob’s Lutheran Church.  (First the cemetery appears to the left and then the church is across to the right.)  This church was organized sometime between 1760 and 1776.  The present sanctuary, the fourth on the site, was built in 1956.  Cross into Richland County.  At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 176.  (This was a narrow miss – there’s another Lutheran Church just down the road to the right!)  Hwy 176 in Richland County is Broad River Road.  On the right at the corner of Mike Stuck Road is the Stuck-Summer family cemetery.  Pine Grove AME actually straddles the highway with the churchyard appearing on both side of the road. 

Turn right on Capers Chapel Road.  Cross back into Newberry County.  An old farmhouse on the right has Spanish Moss on a tree in the front yard.  The front porch has the traditional blue ceiling.  On the right is Capers Chapel Methodist Church.  Founded in 1885, the church was remodeled in 1954.  It was named for Bishop William Capers.  In the churchyard, directly behind the church is an extremely tall monument which recounts the story of Tonsho Careve and his wife Florida Kelly.  Careve sent his wife and infant son back to the Chapin area from Montana in 1920, and stayed behind to settle affairs, but he never made it past Wisconsin.  See monument for details.

From Capers Chapel Road, turn right on Hwy 176.  Turn right on Mayer Road.  In the woods to the right, you can immediately see the remnants of an old farmstead.  (It’s amazing how quickly they’ll sneak up on you.)  Turn right on Peak Bypass and then left on Church Street (to un-bypass Peak).  Peak was established in 1850 as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad.  It was named for H. T. Peak who was superintendent of the railroad.  On the left is Peak Community Center which is housed in the old Peak School (circa 1920).  There are a number of older homes still standing in the downtown.  On the left is the cemetery for Mt. Herman which started as a family cemetery and grew to include the church.  On the right is Mt. Herman Lutheran Church (begun in 1889).  As you follow the curve onto River Street, the Broad River and the old trestle bridge are visible through the trees.  The bridge is now the crossing point into Newberry County for the Palmetto Trail. 

At the end of the street turn right.  This new road will become Broad River Road.  The old road, visible to the right, crossed Crimms Creek at the trestle.  That spot was a popular swimming hole in days gone by.  Turn left on Hwy 213 (Parr Road).  Turn right on Hwy 176.  Bear to the left on Hwy 219 and follow as it becomes Main Street to return to historic downtown Newberry.

A Summer Road Trip
June 2011

Summer is here and it feels like it’s already been here for a while.  Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Don’t bother trying to fry an egg on the granite paving in front of the Old Court House, just get in the car, think cool thoughts and enjoy a little history along the way.
 
Head east on Main Street.  This street is built in roughly chronological order from the 1850’s of the Square to the 1930’s of the 1500 block.  This was a result of the fires in 1866, 1877, 1879, 1883 and 1907 and a dynamite explosion in 1936. Turn left on Lindsay Street.  On the left (in the parking lot) is the site of Thompson Street ARP Church.  Founded in 1853, the church burned in 1907 and was rebuilt further up Main Street as Newberry ARP.  (As you might guess this section of Lindsay Street was originally called Thompson Street.)  On the right just before you get to Scott’s Creek is the newly-refurbished Wells’ Japanese Gardens.  Designed by Fulmer Wells in 1930 as a memorial to his grandmother, this garden is a little patch of serenity and calm in the downtown.  The lotuses are just starting to bloom.  Turn left on Calhoun Street.  This section was originally called Pelham Street because Dr. Pelham lived in the house where Whitaker’s Funeral Home is now.  Continue across College on Speers Street.  Turn left on Nance Street.  On the right, behind the police station, is the Gauntt House, Newberry’s oldest residence (circa 1808), and the Newberry County Museum.  Continue through the downtown and turn right on Boundary Street.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.

A few miles down the road on the right is the Quaker cemetery and the site of the old Quaker church.  Quakers began moving down the Carolina Road to this area in the 1760’s.  Warned of a coming conflict the congregation began moving west in 1808.  By 1822 there were no practicing Quakers left in Newberry.  Turn left on Deadfall Road.  Off the road to the left is New Chapel Methodist Church.  Founded near the Saluda River, the church moved to this site in 1833.  The present building was begun in 1879.  On the right on George Loop is the Cannon House which was built in 1867.  The house played a part in a story written in the Newberry Herald in August 1867.  The editor of the paper was invited to a fishing party on nearby Beaverdam Creek, followed by a fish fry and an evening at Dr. Cannon’s new house.  In the words of the editor: “it was such a rare old time that the very creek took on a livelier motion, and the ‘skeeters sang in unison while putting in their bills, to the merry tale and laugh…  The dinner was thoroughly fishy in its character.” At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 395.

This time of year, things are blooming fast and furious in the summer heat.  Mimosas (not the kind you drink), Magnolias and even a few Crape Myrtles grace yards, forest edges and house sites.  Along the roadsides, Queen Anne’s Lace is still blooming, along with the orange trumpets of Cow Itch and Daylilies.

Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  After cresting the hill, a vista opens up of “Bush River valley.”  As it nears Lake Murray, the narrow stream broadens, giving it more the appearance of a river.  Turn right on Kunkle Road.  While driving through this area, there are a good many old farm houses: homes from the early twentieth century with wraparound porches and bay windows and older one-story homes with end chimneys, wide front porches and long additions.  Not all of them are still occupied.  Turn left on Harmon’s Quarters Road.  On the left an old house in a field provides shade for some horses.  Turn right on Stoney Hill Road.  On the right is an old gas station.  Down the road on the right is the old Stoney Hill School.  Beyond it on the left is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1828, the present church was built in 1955.

Turn left on Hwy 391.  On the right is Bedenbaugh’s Ginnery.  Turn right on Rikard School Road and left into the second entrance to Prosperity Cemetery.  This will bring you through the old part of the cemetery – back when it was the churchyard for Prosperity ARP Church.  Turn right on McNeary Street.  Founded as Frog Level in 1852 (a depot on the Columbia & Greenville Railroad), the name of this town was changed to Prosperity in the 1880’s.  Prosperity is blessed with many beautiful homes from the last quarter of the nineteenth century.   Cross the railroad tracks on Broad Street and turn left on Main Street.  Turn right on Grace Street.  Be sure to notice the work getting started on the old depot.  Turn right on Elm Street.  Cross the railroad tracks and turn right on Hwy 76.

Turn right on Cy Schumpert Road.  On the right is Mid Carolina High School.  Turn left on Macedonia Church Road.  Turn left on Mt. Pilgrim Church Road.  On a bend in the road to the right is Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1880, the present church was built in 1934 and is faced with field stone.  The cemetery is to the side.  Continue down the road.  The steep hill is a reminder of our proximity to Little Mountain.  (The mountain can be seen through the trees near the crest of the hill.)  Turn right on Pa Metts Road.  Turn left on Whippoorwill Road.  This is a narrow road trace that follows a branch of Camping Creek and passes by a number of farm sites in the Dutch Fork.  After Dowd Road, this road becomes windy and mountainous. On the left is the John Adam Boland House, which was built circa 1830.  It still has the dogtrot (or breezeway) between the house and the kitchen.  Beyond the house on the left a few stones mark a Boland family cemetery.  Turn right on Hwy 76.

Though the area was settled in the 1750’s, the town of Little Mountain was established in 1890 as a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  Turn left on Pomaria Street and right on Church Street.  On the left is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, founded in 1891.  Turn left on Parr Road.  Notice the old farm houses and house sites, typical of homes in the Dutch Fork.  Turn left on Hwy 176 and right on Hope Station Road.  St.  John’s Lutheran Church has served this area for over 250 years and is usually considered the epicenter for the old Dutch Fork.  The “new” church is on the right, while the school, cemetery and old church are on the left.  The old church was built in 1808.  The site of the original church is marked by a granite monument on the other side of the cemetery.  Down Hope Station Road, near the point where Crim’s Creek crosses, the Palmetto Trail crosses as it works its way through the state.  On the left is St. Paul’s AME Church.  Next door to it is the old Hope School, a Rosenwald School which has been renovated as a community center.
Turn left on Peak Road.  As you approach Pomaria, Little Mountain can be seen looming over the fields to the left.  On the right is Pomaria Cemetery.  Turn right on Holloway Street.  Turn right on Hwy 176.  Turn left on Hwy 219.  Stay on Hwy 219 until it becomes Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

A Revolutionary Trip
May 2011

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  From the Square, head west on Main Street.  Turn left on Drayton Street and right on O’Neal Street.  When you cross Hwy 121, the road becomes Belfast Road.  At Bush River, the old metal trestle bridge to the left is near the site where the British tried to cross the rain-swollen stream in January 1780.  The army, divided by the river had to march five miles south to Bobo’s Mill to cross at the nearest bridge.
While driving through the county this time of year, be on the lookout for lots of flowers.  Old rambling roses are still visible along the fences and ditches, while Queen Ann’s Lace, Daisies, orange Daylilies and Prickly Pear Cactus are beginning to bloom as well.  The white spikes of Yucca often mark old house sites and family cemeteries.  The massive white blooms of Magnolia dominate yards new and old.

On the left is Smyrna Presbyterian Church.  This church was organized in 1838 by the Boozer, Senn and Clary families.  Among the many old monuments in the churchyard is one to Sgt. Henry Boozer (1756-1837) who served in the SC militia during the Revolutionary War.  Down the road on the right, at the intersection of Floyd Road, is the Washington-Floyd House, circa 1840.  Near the edge of the county on the left is Little River-Dominick Presbyterian Church, founded in 1761.  Just beyond it is an entrance to the Belfast Wildlife Management Area.  Cross into Laurens County.  Formed from the Ninety Six District in 1785, Laurens County is named for Henry Laurens (1724-1792), a leader in the American Revolution and third president of the Continental Congress.  On the left is Belfast House.  Built in the early nineteenth century, it acquired its portico in the 1940’s.  Just beyond Jefferson Davis Road (the Confederate President passed near here on his way to Abbeville near the end of the war) on the left is a large antebellum farmhouse.  Not far from here is Hayes Station, the site of a Revolutionary War massacre where Bloody Bill Cunningham killed 19 patriots in November 1781.

Approaching Clinton, there are a number of large newer homes.  Clinton (the “t” is silent) was originally a crossroads of the Columbia to Greenville and the Augusta to Spartanburg Roads, the town was first known as Five Forks.  When the Newberry & Laurens Railroad came through in 1854, a new town was laid out and named for a Laurens lawyer, Henry Clinton Young.  Hwy 56 becomes Broad Street.  On the right is Presbyterian College, which was founded in 1880 and is a long-standing rival to Newberry College (remember the bronze derby incident).  On the left is Thornwell Home, a school and orphanage established in 1875.  Many of the buildings on the Thornwell campus are constructed of granite.  Cross Hwy 76 and the railroad tracks into downtown Clinton.  The Confederate monument is on the square to the right.

Stay on Hwy 56.  Detour on Hwy 72.  Leaving town, Rosemont Cemetery (part of the Newberry Effect) is on the left.  After the next intersection, the massive complex of Clinton High School is on the right.  Follow the detour onto I-26 (it’s only for about a mile).  Take the first exit (Exit 52 – Hwy 56) and turn right.  Cross Duncan Creek (the same one that flows through Whitmire).  On the left is the entrance to Musgrove’s Mill State Park.  On August 18, 1780, Patriot forces lured Maj. Ferguson’s troops into a fortified ravine.  Though Patriot forces were outnumbered nearly 2 to 1, the British retreated across the river.

Cross the Enoree River into Union County.  Union was formed in 1785 from the division of Ninety Six District and is named for the old Union Church, a multi-denominational church in the area.  Before you get to the top of the first hill, you’ve already crossed into Spartanburg County.  Spartanburg was formed in 1785 from the Ninety Six District.  It was named for the Spartan Regiment, a SC militia unit from the Revolutionary War.  (So far we’ve been in four counties which were all part of the same pre-revolutionary judicial district.)  Just over the line on the right is a pair of early-nineteenth century gateposts.  These were once commonly found at the entrance to plantations in the region. 

On the right is a small nineteenth century farmhouse.  Make a sharp left on Horseshoe Falls Road.  This road is mountainous, with lots of hairpin turns.  There is a parking area to the right and several pullovers with access to trails in Musgrove’s Mill State Park.  These trails lead to Horseshoe Falls and the ruins of the old bridge to Musgrove’s Mill.  About a mile or so up the road, an old farmhouse with many of its outbuildings standing is visible to the right.  On the left is a turn-of-the-century home with a grand Doric portico.  Turn right on New Hope Church Road.  Turn right on Yarborough Chapel Road.  On the left is Yarborough Cemetery.  A little farther down the road is Yarborough Chapel Methodist Church which was established in 1843.  The two story frame building is typical of meeting houses built in the upcountry in the 19th century. 

Turn left on Hwy 56.  The origin of the name Cross Anchor (together with its neighbor Cross Keys) is not known.  According to legend, a ship’s captain and his treasurer settled in the area after the Revolution and built two houses – one with crossed anchors carved in the chimney and the other with crossed keys.  The house at Cross Keys still stands, but the other burned down many years ago.  But truth gets in the way of a good story as the captain’s dates don’t correspond to the construction dates of the houses.  Cross Anchor still has some beautiful homes from the late 19th century, but some could use a little help.  Turn left on Hwy 49.  Down the road to the left is New Hope Baptist Church cemetery.  Stay on Hwy 49 (Union Hwy).  Cross I-26.  Cross the Enoree River into Laurens County.  Just beyond Warrior Creek is the entrance to Roses Unlimited.

Cross I-385 and head toward Laurens.  Across the railroad tracks on the right is the Badgett House, a Greek revival style house built in 1846.  At the traffic light, turn left on Hwy 221 which becomes Harper Street in Laurens.  This area is Wattsville which grew up around the Watts Mill.  Cross Business Hwy 76.  At the crest of the hill to the left is the Laurens City Cemetery.  It is built on a dramatic downward slope of the hill.  Bear to the right to get to the downtown and drive around the Square to the left.  The old Court House, in the middle of the Square, was begun in 1837 and remodeled in 1858.  Turn right on Main Street.  On the left is the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.  With its massive Doric columns, it was built in 1845.  Beyond it on the right in succession are First Methodist, First Baptist and First Presbyterian Churches.  Like Main Street in Newberry, there are many grand old homes, mostly from the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries.  Turn left on Pinehaven Street and left on West Farley Avenue.  The first part of this street is through an established early twentieth century neighborhood, but it loses its residential character after a few blocks.  Cross Little River which is winding its way east to Newberry County.  Turn right on East Main Street (Business Hwy 76).  Down the road on the left is the Laurens County Hospital.  Beside the hospital is the Ferguson Meditation Garden – a tranquil spot well worth the side trip. 

Down the road, once again, is Clinton.  Leaving town on the right is First Presbyterian Church.  Founded in 1855, the impressive granite building was constructed in 1930.  Behind it is the old Clinton Cemetery.  Further down the road is Joanna.  Originally called Martin’s Depot, it got its start as a depot on the Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  Tradition says that a local merchant sold his cotton for high prices after the Civil War and the town became known as “Goldville” from his wealth.  The influence of the mill was felt, and by 1950 the town had been renamed Joanna from the Joanna Western Company.

Cross back into Newberry County at Kinards.  Stay on Hwy 76 as it eventually becomes College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Anxiously Awaiting Spring
February 2011

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  It looks like the Old Court House is getting some cleaning, repair and painting.  The fourth court house to stand on the Square, this one was built in 1851 in the Greek revival style.  The bas-relief decoration over the portico was added during a remodeling following the Fire of 1879. 

From the Square, head south on Caldwell Street.  On the left is Central United Methodist Church.  Founded in 1833, the present Romanesque style sanctuary was built circa 1900.  On the right is First Baptist Church, the oldest congregation in town.  Though established in 1832, the temple-front church was built in 1908.  As we pass by the large turn-of-the-century homes on Caldwell Street, watch out for signs of spring in the yards: camellias, Japanese magnolias and bulbs.  On the left is Miller Chapel AME Church.  One of the oldest African-American congregations in town, it was established in 1869.  In the 300 block of Caldwell Street on the right (just beyond the south fork of Scott’s Creek) is the site of the Newberry Knitting Mill which opened in 1900.  Though the building is no longer standing, it was wired for electricity so that the mill could run twenty-four hours a day.  Turn left on Nance Street.  Stay on Nance as it becomes Hwy 395.

As you drive around the county this month, watch for beautiful spring bulbs, including: Jonquils (bright yellow flowers with slender dark green stems and leaves, and a sweet, rich fragrance); Yellow Narcissus (star-shaped yellow flowers borne in clusters – smaller than a Jonquil but twice as fragrant); Butter-and-Eggs (also called buttercups, loose clusters of petals ranging in color from greenish-white to yellow with blue-green foliage and no fragrance); Snow Drops (stalks of bell-shaped white flowers with green dots, rising from a cluster of dark green leaves); and a myriad of naturalized Daffodils and Narcissuses.  Another flower that is prominent this time of year is a yellow shrub called a “February” (Winter Jasmine), featuring small lemon-yellow blooms along a dark green stem.  The above flowers may be helpful in identifying old house sites.  The house may be gone but the traditional garden plants remain.  A weed which is prominently blooming in fields and ditches is the purple henbit.  An herb imported from Europe, it is providing a splash of color around the county now. 

Down the road on the right is Hartford Community Center in the old school building.  The school was formed in 1874 in the old Universalist church near the Dunker cemetery.  The present building was completed in 1927.  Turn left on St. Luke’s Church Road.  As you go down the hill watch to the left for the Rock House, Newberry’s oldest dwelling (circa 1758).  Notice how far the road has moved over time, as the old house originally stood directly on the highway.   Turn left on Colony Church Road.

Colony Lutheran Church was founded in 1845 halfway between St. Luke’s and St. Paul’s.  Turn right on Hwy 76.  Off the road to the right is the Fair House.  Begun circa 1800, this plantation house is similar to ones in North Carolina and Virginia with a tall central section flanked by smaller wings.  Turn left on Bachman Chapel Road.  Keep an eye out for beautiful vistas of rolling hills.  On the right, at the corner of Candy Kitchen Road, is Bachman Chapel Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1886, this church was named in honor of Rev. Dr. John Bachman (one of the founders of Newberry College).  When you cross Jolly Street Road the road name changes to St. Philip’s Road.  Cross Cannon’s Creek.  On the left will be St. Philip’s Lutheran Church with its cemetery on the right.  Founded in 1882, the present sanctuary was begun in 1962.

Turn left on Hwy 219.  Turn right on St. Philip’s Church Road at Ruff’s store.  Turn left on Hwy 176.  Turn right on Hwy 34.  Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Road.  Cross Heller’s Creek.  Down the road on the right is a mercantile building that served as Reese’s Store.  On the left is the Graham House which is typical of nineteenth century farm houses in the county.  Though usually one room in width, these house are usually several rooms in length with chimneys at each end.  The presence of two front doors was common here and in the lowcountry.   On the left, just beyond Ringer Road, on a little hill is the Darby Cemetery.  Turn left on Maybinton Road.  Cross Enoree River.  The name “Enoree” comes from an Indian word meaning “River of Muscadines.”

Turn right on Tyger River Road.  Turn left on Peter’s Creek Road.   The Hardy House, circa 1825, is on the right.  Built along the old river road, the house retains much of its original appearance and setting.  When we cross into Union County, the road name changes to Glymph Road.  Like Newberry, Union was one of the counties formed from the Ninety Six District in 1785.  Turn right on Maybingdon Road (they misspell it in our neighboring county).  On the right is the site of Jew’s Harp Spring (with an historical marker).  Near here on the right is the site of The Oaks, the plantation home of Dr. Douglass and one end of the tale of the Hound of Goshen.   On the right is St. Matthew’s AME Zion Church.  Turn left on Hwy 72-121.

Hwy 176 joins in as we approach Whitmire.  Cross the Enoree River back into Newberry County.  Stay on Hwy 72.  Established as a trading post on the Old Buncombe Road in the 1790’s, the “pearl of the piedmont” became a railroad depot in 1891.  As the road merges with Church Street, Whitmire Methodist Church will be on the left with its imposing porticoes.  Founded in 1892, it is the oldest congregation in town.  Turn left on Railroad Avenue (before the bridge) and left again on Main Street.  Most of the downtown was rebuilt after a fire in 1916.  On the left at the intersection of Gilliam Street is the town hall, built in 1923.  On the right is St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church, which was founded in 1939.  The last building on the right was built in 1903.  Originally an office for the mill, it has impressive decorative brickwork.  At the end of Main Street stands First Baptist Church which moved to the downtown in 1902.  Turn right on Glenn Street and then left on Park Street.  Along this street stand some of the supervisors’ homes for the mill.  At the end of the street is the site of the Glenn-Lowry Mill.  Turn right on Central Avenue (Hwy 66).  The next few blocks pass through “old hill,” the older section of the mill village.  As you leave town, keep an eye out for Mollohon, the Herndon House, which was begun in the 1790’s.  The massive Doric portico was part of an 1850’s remodeling.

Turn left on Jalapa Road.  Most of the first stretch of this road is part of Sumter National Forest.  Keep an eye out for the flowering plants that signal old house sites.  Cross Asia’s Branch, a tributary of Indian Creek.  Just beyond the interstate on the left (near the end of Indian Creek Road) is a Forest Service road which leads to the site of Old Tranquil Methodist Church.  Founded in 1799, Tranquil Church was the site of the first Sunday School in the county (circa 1827).  As you come into Jalapa, St. James Lutheran Church is on the left.  This church was originally established as Liberty Hill in 1840 and was located near the Laurens County line.  In 1899, the congregation moved to Jalapa and was rededicated as St. James.  Turn left on Hwy 76.  Follow Hwy 76 as it becomes College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

 

Building a Better Ghost Story
October 2010

By now the seasoned road-tripper is familiar with nearly all the traditional ghost stories of Newberry County.  Though this month’s trip will include sites familiar to some of those old tales and maybe a few new ones, the focus will definitely be settings suitable for eerie tales.  There are three things every good ghost story needs: an event; a grain of truth; and a setting.  As we drive along the byways of the county, be aware of the ways in which our beautiful landscape can be downright spooky at times.  All it takes are a few long shadows, fog rising from a pasture pond or an abandoned farm to set the stage for a ghostly encounter.  Look for spooky decorations in yards.  (There are more family cemeteries this time of year than at any other time.) Also, be on the lookout for fall foliage.  Despite the dry summer, the colors of fall are becoming more brilliant every day.
Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  While there, remember the story of the woman at the old hotel, the lady in the Visitors Center and the ghost of the Opera House.  (Maybe you can figure out what’s going on at the second floor of Delamater’s.)
With all the history that took place on the Square, it is likely that other specters are waiting to be rediscovered behind the facades of stores, on the steps of the courthouse or under the trees in Memorial Park.

From the Square, head west on Main Street.  Turn right on Drayton Street and left on Crosson Street.  Near the end of the street on the right is West End Cemetery, home of the “Bride of West End.”  Across the street is Newberry Middle School which may also be the home of many a nightmare.  Turn left on O’Neal Street.  Turn right on Gilder Street and right again on Boundary Street.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.

A few miles down the road on the right is the old Quaker cemetery.  Near here is the setting for one of Newberry’s oldest published ghost stories: “The Phantom Rider of Bush River.”  A tale of unrequited love set in the Revolution, the hooves of the rider’s horse can be heard late at night.  At the end of the road, turn right on Deadfall Road.  (The name of this road is setting enough for a ghostly tale.)  Down the road on the left is a spooky old house that used to serve as the Jaycees’ Haunted House.  Across Hwy 121 to the right a large oak tree stands on the site of an old hanging tree.  Continue on Main Street through downtown Silverstreet.

Just outside of town, bear right on Silverstreet Road.  Down the first dirt road on the right is the site of Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  Continue down Silverstreet Road and enjoy the views of farm and pasture lands.  Turn right on Trinity Springs Road (it eventually becomes Trinity Church Road).  The road crosses Beaverdam Creek which at this point is a spooky stream with lots of algae and tree stumps.  On the right is Trinity Methodist Church.  Founded in 1835 by the merger of Moon’s Meeting House, Shady Grove and Old Kadesh churches, the sound of horse’s hooves are said to be heard on this site.  (Maybe the Bush River phantom took a wrong turn.)  Turn right on Belfast Road.  On a hill to the left across Welch’s Creek is the site of Old Kadesh Methodist Church.  Legend has it that a woman being buried in this churchyard awoke from a coma in the middle of her service.  Turn left on Rocky Creek Road.  On the left is the antebellum Gilder-Sease House.  Turn right on Beaverdam Creek Road.  As you cross Bush River the pilings of an older bridge can be seen to the right. There is a swampy area to the left which seems ripe for a haunting.  Cross Bush River Road.  Near the end of the road on the right is the Clary House, built circa 1850.  Turn left on Hwy 76.

Turn right on Jalapa Road.  On the right is St. James Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1840 as Liberty Hill, the congregation moved to this site in 1889 and changed the name.  Turn right on Boyd Road.  Off to the left can be seen bits of old road trace.  The Old Covenanter Cemetery is somewhere off of this road.  The road bends sharply to the left and eventually becomes Gilder’s Creek Road.  Watch out for wild turkeys.  Somewhere in the woods near here is a place called “Fox’s Paradise” where foxes and sometimes ‘possums are kept safe by a ghost.  According to legend (the short version) a slave named Cuffee is buried near Jalapa and protects animals from hunters and dogs.

Cross under I-26.  Turn right to stay on Gilders Creek Road.  This section of the road trip is a ghost story waiting to happen.  Turn left on David Branch Road.  After all these spooky woods, the road sign looked very alien.  Cross a dry branch of Gilders Creek.  Turn right on Jalapa Road.  Turn right on Beth Eden Church Road.  There is a really beautiful hillside of fall colors ahead as you approach the monument and Monument Road on the left.  Commemorating the crash of two B-25’s near here in 1943, this site, too, lends itself well to scary tales.  Cross Gilder’s Creek.  Around a bend in the road on the right is the antebellum Renwick-Carlisle House.  On the left is Beth Eden Lutheran Church with its old churchyard.  Turn right on Old Whitmire Hwy. 

Turn left on Hwy 76 and then right on College Street.  Ahead on the left is Rosemont Cemetery and beyond it Newberry College.  Both have their own ghost stories to tell.  Turn right on Smith Road.  When you cross Wilson Road this becomes Pender Ridge Road.  Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road.  A favorite of road trips, Mt. Bethel-Garmany closely follows the old road trace and is particularly beautiful this time of year.  Down the road on the left is Lebanon Methodist Church.  It was founded in 1875, and its cemetery is down the dirt road to the side of the church.  On the right, in a bend in the road is the Chalmers-Brown House.  Begun in the 1830’s, it was enlarged in the 1850’s. Follow Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road as it crosses Hwy 176.

Turn right on Mt. Pleasant Church Road.  Cross Heller’s Creek.  Turn left on Hwy 34.  Turn right on Big Pine Road.  (I saw a lot of pines, but not the “big” one.)  Cross Second Creek.  Cross Hwy 176 and turn left on St. Philips Church Road.  Turn right on Hwy 219.  Turn left on Halfacre Road.  On the right is the DeWalt-Gray-Gallman Cemetery.  This is another place that boasts the eerie sound of horse’s hooves.  (Is it all one ghost or several?)  On the left is the Gallman House which was built circa 1859.

Turn right on St. Philips Church Road.  Cross Cannon’s Creek.  Turn right on Jollystreet Road.  Turn right on Hwy 76.  There are some really nice scenic fall views along this stretch of road.  Strauss Road on the left calls to mind the Strauss family murders of the 1930’s.  There are some really nice scenic fall views along this stretch of road.  Turn right on Hwy 76.  Memorial Gardens is on the right.  Turn left on Adelaide Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

Some Virginia Connections: Part 2
September 2010

Last month our road trip explored connections between the State of Virginia and Newberry County, SC, by driving around our county.  This month, the tables are turned and we find ourselves visiting northern Virginia and looking for connections to Newberry.  However, first we have to get there.  In the old days, settlers from Virginia took at least four months to make the journey south along the Carolina Road.  By the mid-19th century, railroads had shortened the time to a matter of days.  Now, with interstates and paved roads the trip can be made in eight hours or less.  (Air travel is even shorter, but this is a road trip not an air trip.)

There are several ways to get to northern Virginia from Newberry.  This is the way I usually go (with a few modifications for the sake of road trip tradition).  Begin your trip on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Head east on Main Street and turn left on College Street.  Follow it as the road becomes Hwy 121.  At Whitmire, Hwy 72 joins in.  At Chester, continue east on Hwy 9.  At Richburg, turn left and head north on I-77.  After crossing the mountains at Fancy Gap, VA, turn right (north) on I-81.  Just because we’re in Virginia, don’t think we’re nearly there.  Our goal is above Winchester, specifically Exit 321.  You will, of course, need to stop along the way.  Here are a few tips accumulated from years of travel back and forth.  There are ample rest areas (except for a 103 mile stretch northbound between Christiansburg and Staunton).  Hwy 11 and the Blue Ridge Parkway (later the Skyline Drive) parallel the interstates most of the way up, and make for interesting and scenic side trips.  Lastly, there’s an imaginary line running through the middle of Virginia which I call the “sweet tea line”.  Above this invisible and largely unlabelled line the “house wine of the south” does not exist as we know it.

There are many things I wish I had time to point out along the way and I have stories for just about every exit between here and there.  Following are some tidbits.  Near the end of North Carolina is Mt. Airy, the hometown of Andy Griffith and the basis for Mayberry.  A lot of families settled between here and Winston-Salem on their way south from Virginia.  Some even made it to Newberry later on.  On I-77 in Virginia, when the New River crosses, a shot tower for making bullets can be seen to the right.  Also crossing the river at this point is Hwy 52 – the same road that becomes Meeting Street in Charleston.  There is a family cemetery (McGavock) visible on top of the hill at the intersection of I-81.  (This is especially visible on the southbound trip.)  The Dublin exit has the Ruritan headquarters and also a museum for the Wilderness Road which branched from the Carolina Road at Roanoke (then White Lick) and headed west through the Cumberland Gap.  Exit 175 leads to the Natural Bridge.  I-64 to Richmond marks the division between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive.  Staunton (ignore the “u”) has the Woodrow Wilson birthplace (his boyhood home is in Columbia) and a Frontier Life Museum.  Mt. Jackson has a water tower shaped like a basket of apples and is the home of “Route 11” Potato Chips.  Pugh’s Run crosses at mile marker 286.4.  (Pugh is a Newberry family that came from Virginia.)  The areas close to Winchester have many Newberry connections, some of which will be explored in this trip. 

At Exit 321 (Clearbrook and Brucetown) turn left on Hopewell Road.  Ahead on the left is Cline Farms (home of fine apples, peaches, etc.).  Newberry’s Clines came from North Carolina in the 1850’s but may have come from Virginia beforehand.  Beyond that farm, at the intersection of Waverly Road is Hopewell Quaker Meeting. 

Established in 1734, it is considered the oldest church west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was also the home meeting of many of the Quakers who came to Newberry.  A trip to the cemetery next to the meeting house reveals many names in common with Newberry.  Along Waverly Road next to Hopewell Church is Waverly Farm, now the home of a dairy.  Both the family and the Jersey cows have strong connections to present-day Newberry.  The old stone house on the farm was built by Alexander Ross who also built the meeting house next door.  (There were Rosses that settled in Newberry near Gilder’s Creek.)  Because of the swift-flowing spring on the site, the farm was used as a campground by both Confederate and Union Troops during the Civil War.

Return to I-81 and begin the trek south.  Take the next exit to visit the Virginia Welcome Center.  They have tons of information on the region, state and I-81 corridor.  Back on I-81, the next three exits all lead to Winchester.  Founded by Quaker settlers from Pennsylvania in 1732, the town was originally called Frederick after the father of George III.  Now the county bears that name.  Winchester has a strong history in the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  There were three battles of Winchester during the Civil War and many skirmishes nearby during which time the city changed hands seventy times – thirteen times in one day, alone. 

While in town be sure to stroll through the grid of downtown streets with eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings.  Pay a visit to Mount Hebron Cemetery and to the Confederate and National Cemeteries.  Winchester boasts several museums including: George Washington’s office; Museum of the Shenandoah Valley; Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters; and Abram’s Delight.  (This stone house is the oldest in town and has a Newberry family connection.)  Winchester was the birthplace of General Daniel Morgan (Revolutionary War), Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. (Arctic and Antarctic explorer), and Patsy Cline.  Hugh O’Neall, the great-grandfather of John Belton O’Neall died near Winchester in 1740.

Just down the road from Winchester, near Middletown, is Belle Grove.  This 1797 home was built by Major Isaac Hite, Jr., and is now a museum operated by the National Trust.  Some Hites in Newberry County have a family connection here.  It is also the site of the Battle of Cedar Grove where many Newberrians fought during the Civil War.
A little further south and in neighboring Shenandoah County is Strasburg.  The Battle of Hupp’s Hill was fought here, where Newberry’s Col. William Drayton Rutherford was killed on October 13, 1864.  Today there is a museum and caverns on the site.  Nearby Front Royal in Warren County is the site of another important battle.  It is also the beginning of the Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Caverns.

There are many connections between Newberry and the northern Virginia counties of Frederick, Clarke, Warren and Shenandoah.  While in the neighborhood, explore the byways for Newberry names.  Some of the towns that may have connections include Boyce, Purcellville, Berryville and others.  Enjoy your stay in Virginia, but be sure to be back in historic downtown Newberry in time for next month’s road trip.

 

The Virginia Connection: Part 1
August 2010

Click HERE to hear the podcast of this Road Trip


Since my sister married a Virginian, I’ve travelled back and forth to visit her quite a bit.  After a while, I began to notice a similarity in surnames and place names between northern Virginia and Newberry County.  It didn’t take much research to find a lot of connections between the two places.  This trip explores some of those connections on the Newberry side.  There are three basic (and much-simplified) categories of connection here: families moving “west” along the Carolina Road from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia; Newberrians travelling to Virginia during the War (between the states); and community and church ties.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  On the north side of the Square is Boyce Street.  This street was named for Kerr Boyce, a Newberry merchant who had a brisk trade with Philadelphia along the Carolina Road in the early nineteenth century.  His father, John Boyce, had come here from Virginia before the Revolutionary War.  From the Square travel east on Main Street and turn left on College Street.  At the top of the next hill on the right is Newberry College.  Smeltzer Hall, the oldest building on campus, was completed in 1878 and is named for Rev. Josiah P. Smeltzer who was president of the college from 1861 until 1877.  Prior to his arrival in Newberry to serve as president of the college and pastor of Luther Chapel, he served as pastor of a church in Salem, Virginia.

Just beyond the college on the right is Rosemont Cemetery.  This entire trip could be spent detailing connections between Virginia and the residents of the “silent city adjoining our town.”  There are a few, though, that I’d like to point out.  At the crest of the hill, enclosed by a brick wall, is the Calmes Cemetery which predates the establishment of Rosemont in 1863.  Among those buried there is William Calmes, Sr. (died 1836) who fought the American Revolution.  The Calmes family was from Virginia.  (My niece in Virginia lives on Calmes Neck Road and was very impressed that I knew the name was pronounced with a short “a” and a long “e.”)  Also near the top of the hill is the grave of William Drayton Rutherford who died at the Battle of Strasburg in 1864.  Many Newberrians fought in the Army of Northern Virginia during the Civil War and saw action in the Shenandoah Valley.  From Rosemont, turn right on College Street.  Turn left on Hwy 76 and then right on Old Whitmire Road. 

On the right near Inman Drive is the Inman House which was built circa 1870.  The Inmans were among many families in the area who came here along the Carolina Road with the Quakers in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.  Opposite the end of Folk Road in the woods to the left is Tea Table Rock.  The Revolutionary War connection reminds us that soldiers, as well as settlers traveled the road between Philadelphia and the Carolinas.  Recent rains have turned everything green here.  In the middle of a field of cotton to the left is the Chandler House, home for another family whose ancesstors came down with the Quakers.  Opposite the end of Seymore Branch Road on the right is the Dr. George Washington Glenn House.  A typical Newberry County farmhouse, the home was built circa 1800.  The Glenns also had come to Newberry County from Virginia.  The green fields, forests and low rolling hills along this road are among the reasons so many families wanted to move here in the eighteenth century.

Cross Hwy 121.  On the left is the site of Long Lane School.  Blooming Crape Myrtles seen through the woods mark the site.  This time of year these blooming trees help to locate house sites.  Cross Hwy 176 onto Brazelman’s Bridge Road.

On the right is a road flanked by concrete piers that leads to the cemetery for Kings Creek A. R. P. Church.  One of two eighteenth century A. R. P. churches in the county, many descendants of early settlers from Virginia, Scotland and Ireland are buried here.  Cross the Enoree River.  Recent rainfall has given the river a muddy appearance.  Along the road the yellow blooms of Goldenrod, our state wildflower, remind us that fall is approaching.  On the right is Seekwell Baptist Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in the county.  Beyond it on the right is the site of Ebeneezer Methodist Church.  Though the church burned in the 1970’s, the old churchyard is still visible.  Many Virginia connections can be found here in the Hardy, Lyles, Welch, Epps and other families.  At the end of the road, turn left on Maybinton Road. 

Venture briefly into Union County.  Turn right on Glymph Road, which becomes Peter’s Creek Road as we re-enter Newberry County.  Near the end of the road on the left is the Hardy House.  This house was built in 1825 by the Hardy family which had come down the road from Virginia in the eighteenth century.  At the end of the road turn right on Tyger River Road.  On the left is Dogwalla Road.  (If you have extra time to travel, this winding road sounds like it should be appropriate for the “dog days.”) 

Turn left on Maybinton Road amidst the blooms of Crape Myrtles.  Cross the Enoree River.  Turn right on Mt. Pleasant Road.  Up the hill on the right is the Darby Family cemetery.  Turn right on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road.  This road (as well as Mt. Pleasant Road) closely follows the original road trace and was part of the Carolina Road that many settlers followed when they were making their way into Newberry.  Turn right on Hwy 176 and immediately right on Molly’s Rock Road.  This road also closely follows its trace which can often be seen to either side looking like a wide ditch.  It is slow traveling this gravel road, but imagine traveling with your whole household down a muddy trace in the rainy winter.  Families often travelled between November and March so they could harvest the old crop and get here in time for a late-spring crop.  This area was settled by the Crenshaw and Finch families of Virginia who were among the founders of Mt. Bethel Academy.  At the end of the road, turn back left on Hwy 176.  Turn right on Mt. Bethel Garmany Road.

At a bend in the road on the left is the Chalmers-Brown House which was built circa 1840.  The Browns were descendants of settlers from Virginia.  At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 34 (Winnsboro Road).  Near the intersection of Wilson Road was the original site of Aveleigh Presbyterian Church.  Bear right on Main Street.  At Summer Street there is a cluster of homes associated with the Summer family in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The Summer ancestor, John Adam Summer, came to this area around 1750 by way of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Turn left on Calhoun Street and right on Friend Street.  This street takes its name from the Quakers (Society of Friends) who were an important part of the community from the 1760’s through the first decade of the nineteenth century.  Turn left on Nance Street and right on Boundary Street.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  About a mile down the road on the right is the Quaker Cemetery and the site of the old Meeting.  Among the Quaker names that made it to Newberry from northern Virginia were:  Gauntt, Coppock,  Evans, Pearson, O’Neall, Pugh and Hollingsworth.  Many of them may have left after 1808, but they took “Newberry” with them.  The place name appears along their westward migration.  Cross Bush River.  Turn right on Quaker Road.  Turn right on Hwy 34-121.  The Carolina Road followed several traces as it worked its way across what is now Newberry County.  Today that route is roughly covered by Highways 121 and 34.  Follow this road back into town and return to historic downtown Newberry.


Welcome to Little Mountain!
July 2010

Click HERE to hear the podcast of this Road Trip

 

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.  Listen.  Can you hear it? Above the sound of eggs frying on the sidewalk is the distinctive whisper: “Go to the mountains.”  If you don’t have time to travel, then you’re in luck.  We have one of those in Newberry County: Little Mountain. 

Sure, you can travel there and back along Hwy 76.  But today we’re taking a more circuitous route.

From the Square turn left (south) on Nance Street and then turn right on Boundary Street.  Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road.  While driving through the county, watch for Crape Myrtles.  Introduced to South Carolina by Andre Micheaux in the 1790’s, this long-time summer bloomer ranges in color from white and red to all shades of pink and lavender.  Also blooming are Cow Itch, potato vine and the ubiquitous orange daylilies.  Keep a sharp lookout for wildlife, too.  (I saw deer, buzzards, rabbits and wild turkeys while working on this trip.)

Down the road about a mile and a half on the right (at the historical marker) are the Quaker Cemetery and the site of the old Quaker Church.  Quakers began settling in this area in 1765, making their way south along the Carolina Road from Virginia and Pennsylvania.  By 1806, the meeting at Bush River held sway over the meetings of South Carolina and Georgia.  Zachariah Dicks, an itinerant preacher, predicted a great conflict over the issue of slavery.  After his predictions, many of the Friends moved west.  By 1822, there were no practicing Quakers left in the county.  At the end of the road turn left on Deadfall Road.  On the left is New Chapel Methodist Church.  Founded in the first decade of the 19th century, the church was moved to its current site in the 1830’s.  (I guess that makes the previous site “old New Chapel.”)  The present church building was begun in 1879.  New Chapel marks the beginning of Utopia community.  Unlike Thomas Moore’s version (for which this section of the county was named) Utopia is bounded by New Chapel, the Saluda River, Bush River and Stoney Hill.  Turn right on George Loop.  On the left is the Cannon House which was built in 1867.  It was the home of Dr. D. A. Cannon (1831-1890), a local physician.  Continue bearing to the left to stay on George Loop.  At the end, turn right on Deadfall Road.  In the woods across Beaver Dam Creek was the site of Utopia School which consolidated with six other schools in 1924 to become Silverstreet School.  Across from Hannah AME Church is Hannah School, a Rosenwald school from the 1930’s.  In the 1960’s it, too, was consolidated into Silverstreet.

At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 395.  The Turner House, an old farm house will be on the right.  Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.  Perched at one hilltop, the view ahead to the next hill is what I like to call “Bush River Valley.”  At this point, widening toward Lake Murray, the stream looks more river-like than it does at almost any other point.  Down the road on the right is Stoney Hill Community Center in the old school building.  The school was established in 1925 when two smaller schools consolidated.  In 1958, Stoney Hill was consolidated into Prosperity.  On the left is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1828, the present church was built in 1955.

Cross Hwy 391 onto Mt. Pilgrim Church Road.  On the left is the old Bedenbaugh Ginnery.  Turn right on Counts Road.  There are several old farm houses along this stretch of road.  Turn left on Long Road.  This rough gravel road with high embankments is reminiscent of an old road trace.  Watch out for the washboard effect of the road.  After you cross Buffalo Creek, look for a patch of Black-eyed Susans.  Turn right on Macedonia Church Road and immediately left on Long Road.  This section of the road is paved.  Turn right on Mt. Pilgrim Church Road.  The steep hill reminds us we’re getting close to Little Mountain.

Turn right on Whippoorwill Road.  Cross Pa Metts Road.  This is a narrow road trace that follows a branch of Camping Creek and passes by a number of farm sites in the Dutch Fork.  After Dowd Road, this road becomes windy and mountainous. On the left is the John Adam Boland House, which was built circa 1830.  It still has the dogtrot (or breezeway) between the house and the kitchen.  Beyond the house on the left a few stones mark a Boland family cemetery.  Turn right on Hwy 76 and right again on Old Dutch Road.  Turn right on Efird Metts Road.  On the left is the Joe Boland House, circa 1840, with its large stone and brick kitchen chimney visible toward the road.  On the right is another Boland family cemetery. 

Turn right on Wheeland Road.  Turn right on Mill Road.  At the end of the road is Wheeland School.  This schoolhouse with its corner bell tower was built in 1912.  The name comes from a combination of Wheeler and Boland, two of the prominent families in the neighborhood.  Turn left on Wheeland School Road.  Though part of Newberry County in 1785, this area was part of Lexington from 1802 until 1917.  Turn left on Wheeland Road.  On the right is the Dan Boland House, circa 1885.  With its bay window and wide bracketed eaves, it is a good example of the Italianate style which was popular in the late nineteenth century.  Turn right on Mill Road.  Cross Stephen’s Creek.  There are some nice views of the mountain from here.  Little Mountain, originally called Ruff’s Mountain, is the highest point in Newberry County at 825 feet above sea level.  It is also the highest point east of Greenville.  Called a monadnock, it is a high ridge of bedrock which has eroded away from a mountain range (the Blue Ridge Mountains).

Welcome to Little Mountain.  Though the area had been settled in the 1750’s, the town itself was established in 1890 around a depot on the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad.  On the right is Little Mountain Elementary School which was begun as a graded school in 1909.  In 1958, the junior high and high school consolidated with Mid-Carolina.  On the left is Reunion Park which will be hosting the Little Mountain Reunion in August.  Tracing its origins back to 1882, the Reunion is the oldest folk festival in the state.  Turn right on Main Street.  Turn left on Pomaria Street.  On the right is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (founded in 1891) with its new addition.  Stay on Pomaria Street as it leaves town.  Turn left on Koon Trestle Road.  Turn right on St. Paul’s Church Road.  On the right is St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.  Established in 1761, it is the oldest Lutheran congregation that has always been in Newberry County (St. John’s was in Lexington for a while).  The present granite church was built in 1938 and sits beside a large cemetery.  Be sure to notice the granite bench that protrudes from a tree in front of the church.  Turn left on Jollystreet Road.

Turn right on Old Jollystreet Road.  On the left is the old Jollystreet School.  Though this building dates to the 1920’s, a school was started near here in 1845.  (There’s a good article on the baseball field in the current issue of the Newberry magazine.)  Cross Cannon’s Creek.  At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 219.  On the left is St. Philip’s Lutheran Church.  Founded in 1881, the present church was built in 1962.  Stay on Hwy 219 as it becomes Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

 

A Revolutionary Trip
April 2010

Click HERE to hear the podcast of this Road Trip

That short spurt of hot weather after Easter has left us with everything blooming at once. Early spring flowers are still to be found amid April’s glory and a few flowers that we don’t normally see until May. The pleasant weather calls for a road trip, so today we’ll travel west to some of our neighboring counties and enjoy the feeling of going there and coming back again.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Before our town was founded, John Coate operated a blacksmith shop in what is now the 1300 block of Main St. It was near this site that British troops under Sir Banastre Tarleton camped in early January, 1781, prior to their more noted encampment near Tea Table Rock.

From the Square, head east on Main Street and turn left on College St. While in town keep an eye out for the beauty of spring found in Azaleas, Irises and even a few Roses. Turn left on Hwy 76 toward Jalapa. Driving along the highways there are plenty of flowers and wildflowers to watch for – bright red Clover, Sourgrass, Vetch, and the pink, purple and blue of Bachelor’s Button. At the edges of the woods watch for lingering Dogwood and the red flowers of Trumpet Vine (Woodbine). The bright green of new leaves is a welcome change from the bare branches and dark evergreens of winter. White or purple Irises (Flags) and Thrift often indicate old home sites.

On the left at the corner of Beaverdam Creek Road stands a fine ante bellum home. It marks the entrance to Jalapa. This small community was named for a town in Mexico in honor of the many Newberrians who fought in the Mexican War. Across a field to the right is St. James Lutheran Church. Founded in 1840 as Liberty Hill, the congregation moved to this site in 1889 and changed the name. Down the road on the right is the Glasgow-McCrackin House which was built in 1910. A little farther along on the left is Wise’s, a favorite spot for local mustard-based barbecue. Kinards was named for Captain John Martin Kinard and was established in 1854 as a depot on the Newberry & Laurens Railroad. On the left is Sharon Methodist Church, founded in 1854. Cross Hwy 560 into Laurens County.

Formed from the Ninety Six District in 1785, Laurens is named for Henry Laurens, a leader in the American Revolution. Not too far down the road is Joanna. Originally called Martin’s Depot, it got its start as a depot on the Newberry & Laurens Railroad. Tradition says that a local merchant sold his cotton for high prices after the Civil War and the town became known as “Goldville” from his wealth. The influence of the mill was felt, and by 1950 the town had been renamed Joanna from the Joanna Western Company. At the intersection of Hwy 66 (Whitmire Hwy) on the right is the vault of the Blalock Family. Next to the vault is Blalock Memorial Veterans Park. At the corner of Workman Street is Gilder & Weeks Pharmacy. (The Newberry store was in the Old Hotel.) On the left at the corner of W. Calhoun Street is St. Boniface Catholic Church, which is built of granite.

Just down the road is Clinton (the “t” is silent). Originally a crossroads of the Columbia to Greenville and the Augusta to Spartanburg Roads, the town was first known as Five Forks. When the Newberry & Laurens Railroad came through in 1854, a new town was laid out and named for a Laurens lawyer, Henry Clinton Young. Coming into town a number of turn of the century houses can be seen on the left. Also on the left is First Presbyterian Church. Established in 1855, the present granite Gothic revival church was built in 1930. Behind the church is the Clinton Cemetery with many fine old monuments. Continuing down Hwy 76, Clinton’s downtown can be seen to the right with old storefronts facing the Confederate monument on the square. Today it’s a far cry from the “mudhole surrounded by taverns” described by a Presbyterian minister in 1864.

Stay on Hwy 76 to Laurens. Coming into town on the right at the corner of Woodrow Street is the Zelotes Holmes House, an octagonal house built in 1858. Just across Little River is Little River Park. We’re approaching the downtown on Main St. Drive around the Square. In the center of the Square is the old court house which was built circa 1857. It now houses a museum. Turn back to the left on Main Street and then left on Harper St. The Laurens City Cemetery is on the right on the downward slope of a hill. There is some interesting statuary among the tombstones. Stay on Harper Street as it becomes Hwy 221. In the town of Wattsville, a row of churches can be seen to the left – St. James Methodist Church, Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Laurens Baptist Association. Turn right on Hwy 49. On the left is the Badgett House, a Greek revival house with fine Doric details built circa 1846. Pass by Laurens Academy on the left in the midst of rolling hills and fields. On the left, at the intersection of Hwy 308, is Sandy Springs Methodist Church. Its cemetery is across the road. On the right down Deerwood Drive is Roses Unlimited (a good source for old-fashioned roses). Cross Warrior Creek as it rushes toward the Enoree River.

Cross the Enoree River into Spartanburg County. Spartanburg was formed in 1785 from the Ninety Six District. It was named for the Spartan Regiment, a SC militia unit from the Revolutionary War. Turn right on New Hope Church Road to visit New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery. Continue on Hwy 49. The origin of the name Cross Anchor (together with its neighbor Cross Keys) is not known. According to legend, a ship’s captain and his treasurer settled in the area after the Revolution and built two houses – one with crossed anchors carved in the chimney and the other with crossed keys. The house at Cross Keys still stands, but the other burned down many years ago. But truth gets in the way of a good story as the captain’s dates don’t correspond to the construction dates of the houses. Cross Anchor still has some beautiful homes from the late 19th century.

Turn right on Hwy 56. Turn right on Yarborough Chapel Rd. On the right is Yarborough Chapel Methodist Church which was established in 1843. The two story frame building is typical of meeting houses built in the upcountry in the 19th century. Down the road to the right is the old cemetery.

Turn left on New Hope Church Rd. Turn left on Horseshoe Falls Rd. Immediately on the right is a neoclassical house with a monumental Doric portico. This road is mountainous, with lots of hairpin turns. On the left is an old farmhouse with many of its outbuildings standing. There are several pullovers on the right and a larger parking area to the left which access trails in Musgrove’s Mill State Park. These trails lead to Horseshoe Falls and the ruins of the old bridge to Musgrove’s Mill. As you cross the metal trestle bridge over Cedar Shoals Creek, a wild azalea is visible on the left bank of the creek below.

Turn right on Hwy 56. Cross into Union County. Union was formed in 1785 from the division of Ninety Six District and is named for the old Union Church, a multi-denominational church in the area. Cross the Enoree River back into Laurens County. On the right is a granite marker commemorating the site of the Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. On August 18, 1780, Patriot forces lured Maj. Ferguson’s troops into a fortified ravine. Though Patriot forces were outnumbered nearly 2 to 1, the British retreated across the river.

Continue down Hwy 56 until it intersects with I-26. Take the interstate east to Newberry County. Take your exit of choice and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

 

Spring Has Sprung
March 2010

Click HERE to hear the podcast of this Road Trip
(aired 03/25/10)

It’s spring! Enjoy it while it’s here, because winter isn’t gone yet and summer is just around the corner. Today we’ll take a stroll in historic downtown Newberry and catch a glimpse of the season before it melts away. Start your stroll on the Square.

Imagine a busy market day on the Square circa 1900 – the sights, the sounds, the smells and the mud. Before the paving of the streets started in 1911, Main Street (then called Pratt) and the Square were a muddy mess – especially after a wet winter. A satirical article in the Herald in 1875 called for citizens to donate mud for the creation of a canal which was proposed along what is now Main Street form College Street to the “Mudlick Lock” at the Old Court House.

The Old Court House was completed in 1853 and is the fourth court house to stand on the public Square. Designed by Columbia architect Jacob Graves, it is a fine example of a Greek revival temple-front building. Characteristics of this style include the massive fluted Doric columns (which rise directly from the ground without decorative bases) and an entablature (consisting of an architrave and a frieze of equal proportions and decorative triglyphs and mutules).

Behind the Old Court House stands the Confederate monument. The obelisk was originally dedicated in 1880 by the Confederate Survivors Association. It was rededicated in 2001 after a restoration project by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter. With an historic typo the monument charges us to “memorize” the lives of the men whose names are inscribed here. This section of the Square forms a raised terrace which is constructed of granite block which were salvaged from the jail which once stood on the site. That jail was demolished when a new jail was built on Harrington Street in 1853.

Several buildings around the Square (1101- 1117 Boyce Street and 1018-20 Main Street) have stepped parapets which mask the rooflines from the storefront facades. This type of construction was typical of the earliest brick buildings in the downtown. The elaborate pressed tin cornices on the buildings in the 1100 block of Main Street serve the same purpose – hiding the roof while ornamenting the facade.

The lower end of the Square (west of McKibben Street) is also known as Memorial Park (after the World War I monument was placed there in the 1920’s). Two more war memorials have been added in more recent memory. Directly behind the WWI monument is a granite slab dedicated in 2002 which marks the spot where soil from World War II battlefields was buried in a commemorative ceremony. At the far end of the Square is the World War II memorial which originally stood in front of the old hospital on Hunt Street (that’s where the “memorial” comes from in Newberry County Memorial Hospital). From the end of the Square look up Nance Street beyond the Opera House. On top of the next hill stands the Gauntt House, the oldest dwelling in town (circa 1808). Directly behind it is the Coppock House, the home of the Newberry County Museum. (If you haven’t been to these historic sites before, what are you waiting for?) Walk back up Main Street to Caldwell Street and turn right. (Feel free to stop a moment and browse in the shops along the way.)

At the southeast corner of Main and Caldwell Streets stands the Old Newberry Hotel. This impressive Romanesque style building was designed by G. L. Norman in 1880. Just a year later Norman designed another impressive Newberry Landmark: the Opera House. The Caldwell Street side of 1116 Main (Out on a Whim or the old McCrory’s store) displays the three colors of Newberry-made bricks. The body of the building is one color, while the cornice and decorative trim display the other colors. Michelle’s (1104 Caldwell Street) has an unusual façade. All the decorative elements are faced with pressed tin. The two-story building at the corner of Friend and Caldwell Streets was the first building constructed as a Post Office in town. Built circa 1875, it has corbelled arches in its cornice. By the 1890’s, a new Post Office was needed. That building stood across the street where the parking lot is now.

Across the above-mentioned parking lot stands the Hal Kohn Library. Completed in 2008, it is the newest large building in the old downtown. On the east side of Caldwell Street is Central United Methodist Church. Designed by a Tennessee architect named Hunt in 1900, much of the interior decoration was the work of C. C. Davis. Another Romanesque style building, Central Methodist is constructed of brick and granite and has beautiful stained glass windows.

As the walk gets more residential in character, notice the welcome addition of seasonal colors in flowering trees, shrubs and bulbs. Most of the fruit trees (especially pears and plums) are in bloom as well as Japanese Magnolia, forsythia and quince. The blue and white Star of Bethlehem is making its annual appearance in lawns. The house at 904 Caldwell Street was built circa 1910 and is covered with pebble-dash stucco. The unusual roof is called a jerkin-head gable (the point of the roof leans back, forming a triangular hip). This roof form was popular in the eighteenth century and in colonial revival homes in the early twentieth century.

On the southwest corner of Boundary Street is First Baptist Church. Founded in 1831, it is the oldest congregation downtown. The present Roman style temple-front building was constructed in 1907. At 800 Caldwell Street stands the Hutchinson House. Built circa 1900, it is typical of turn of the century homes in Newberry. Next door is the Z. F. Wright House. Wright served as mayor of Newberry as well as director of the Commercial Bank and president of Newberry Cotton Mills. His house is attributed to C. C. Davis. Across the street stands the George Summer House. Built before 1918, the house was designed by Newberry architect Ernest Summer. Across its façade can be found all three of the principle classical orders: Doric (on the south porch), Ionic (on the porte cochere) and Corinthian (on the front porch). This street has several beautiful Queen Anne style houses attributed to C. C. Davis. The Davis, Houseal, Cannon and Boozer Houses were all built between 1888 and 1910. They feature wraparound porches, bay windows and decorative elements typical of the late nineteenth century.

From the intersection of Coate’s Street south to the south fork of Scott’s Creek is Graveltown. Laid out in the late 1860’s, it is Newberry’s oldest African-American neighborhood. Turn left on Coate’s Street. On the left is the old Village Cemetery. Begun on one acre of land in 1809, by 1846 it had grown to about five acres. Though few markers remain (the originals were mostly wood) the cemetery was filled by the time Rosemont Cemetery was established in 1863. Across from the cemetery is Boundary Street School. The additions and remodeling of 2005 preserve the original school bell which has been on the site since 1890. At the corner of Boundary Street, look to the right to see the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Founded in 1853 as Luther Chapel, it is the oldest Lutheran congregation in town. Turn left on Boundary Street.

All along Boundary Street are granite retaining walls. These were built across the city in the 1930’s when many streets were leveled for paving. To the left is the Caldwell-Wright House which was built circa 1825. It originally stood at the south end of College Street, but was moved out of the way when Z. F. Wright built his palatial home there. Later it was turned to face the street as it does now. Turn right on College Street and continue your stroll back to the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

 

Hoping for Spring
February 2010

Click HERE to hear the podcast of this Road Trip
(aired 02/25/10)

As you drive around this month, look for the early signs of spring. When these traditional plants are found growing in a field or in the woods, it’s usually a good indication that an old house site or cemetery is nearby. Many of the seasonal flowering bulbs are members of the amaryllis family. What we call Jonquils, Narcissus, Daffodils, Snowdrops and Butter & Eggs are forms of narcissus which have naturalized to the area. Jonquils are sweet-smelling yellow flowers with dark green reed-like stems and leaves. Daffodils have a pronounced trumpet and Butter & Eggs are a double form. These latter range in color from greenish white to orange-yellow. Narcissus is a small sweet-smelling cluster of flowers born on a single stem. They are usually white, cream or yellow. Other blooming plants which make an appearance this time of year include: Quince (a thorny shrub with red or white blooms); Forsythia (a shrub with yellow trumpets on brown branches also called Yellow Bells); and Spirea (a shrub with clusters of tiny white flowers whose double form is called Bridal Wreath). The new growth on Maple trees is adding a faint red tinge to the bare trees.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Head east along Main Street and turn left on College Street. At the intersection of Wilson Road (Hwy 76 Bypass) turn left and then turn right on Old Whitmire Hwy. (This is, of course, distinguished from Hwy 121 which is the “new” Whitmire Hwy.) In the woods to the left near the end of Folk Road is Tea Table Rock, where the ladies of the area delayed Tarleton and the British troops sufficiently to turn the tide of the Revolutionary War. Turn left on Beth Eden Church Road. Beth Eden Lutheran Church will be on your right. On down the road to the left is the ante-bellum Renwick-Carlisle House. Farther down the road on the right is the monument at Monument Road in memory of the men who were killed when two B-25’s collided in 1943.

Turn left on Jalapa Road. After you cross I-26, turn right on Indian Creek Road. (If the road to the left were still accessible, it would lead to John’s Mountain (elevation 560 feet) and the site of Old Tranquil Methodist Church.) Turn left on Riser Road. Turn right on Hwy 76. Just beyond the lumber operation on the right is Oakdale, the Gary House, built circa 1855. This was Gary’s Lane, a stop on the Newberry and Laurens Railroad, which had branched from the Columbia and Greenville Railroad at Helena in 1854. Kinards was named for Captain John Martin Kinard and was established in 1854 as a railroad depot. Turn left on Hwy 560. After crossing the railroad tracks, turn left on Carlisle Oxner Road to get to Sharon Methodist Church. Founded in 1854, the present church was built at the turn of the twentieth century. Captain Kinard is buried in the cemetery behind the church. Return to Hwy 560 and turn left.

This road runs along the boundary between Newberry and Laurens Counties. Both counties were established in 1785 from a portion of the old Ninety Six District. Cross Bush River. Turn left on Bush River Road. Ahead on the left stands the old Smith Dairy. The farmhouse, with its bay window and wraparound porch, is typical of the homes built in Newberry in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Soon you will pass by the site of the old Bush River School. Though the main building burned in 1987, its stone pillars are still standing at the road, flanking the drive. At the intersection of Floyd Road, Bush River Road and Gary’s Lane stands Bush River Baptist Church. Stop by the old cemetery which is just beyond the church on Bush River Road. Return to the church itself. The newer section of the cemetery is directly behind it. Bush River Baptist is considered the mother church of many upcountry congregations. Founded in 1771, it is one of two pre-revolutionary Baptist congregations still active in the county. The present church is the result of a remodeling in 1917. The rear wing is part of an early-nineteenth century meeting house.

Turn left on Floyd Road. At the end of the road on the left is the Washington Floyd House, built circa 1840. Turn left on Belfast Road. Turn right on Belmont Church Road. At the end of the road, turn left on Island Ford Road and take the first right on Silverstreet Road. Watch for cattle and bright green fields. Turn right on Hwy 34. Turn left on Werts Road. As this road bends back towards Newberry, it is not too far from the confluence of Little River and the Saluda River. At the end of the road, turn right on Deadfall Road and stay on it as you traverse the crossroads. Down the road you will find the turn for New Chapel Methodist Church on the left. Founded near the Saluda River in the early years of the nineteenth century, the church was moved to its present site in the 1830’s. The present building was begun in 1879. Just down the road on the right, the old Cannon House, circa 1867, looms over the fields of Utopia. Tradition has it that children at the local school gave the community this name because they felt their home had all the features of Thomas Moore’s fictional place. Near the end of the road, Hannah AME Church stands to the right. Across the street at the edge of the cemetery is Hannah School, one of the Rosenwald Schools built in Newberry County.

Turn right on Hwy 395. Turn left on Counts Sausage Road. When you cross Bush River this time it really looks like a river. Turn right on St. Luke’s Church Road. This is a winding sort of mountainous-looking stretch of road. Turn left on Stoney Hill Road. On the left is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. Founded in 1828, the present church was built in 1955. The old part of the cemetery is behind the church. When you cross Hwy 391, the road name changes to Mt. Pilgrim Church Road. Cross Macedonia Church Road. On a bend in the road to the right is Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church. The present church with its field stone facing was built in 1934. Just before Hwy 76 intersects, Oak Grove Presbyterian Church will be on the right. Directly across the road from the church is the old Oak Grove School, another Rosenwald School. Turn right on Hwy 76.

Turn left on Caldwell Drive. (That’s just after the big oak tree.) Turn left on Kibler’s Bridge Road. There’s some really beautiful countryside along here, with picturesque rolling hills, pastures and forests. (The road makes a sharp turn at Berly Boland Road, so make sure to stay on Kibler’s Bridge Road.) Ahead on the right is a typical nineteenth century farmhouse. Turn right on Hwy 773. After crossing I-26, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will be on the right. Founded in 1761, the present granite building was built in 1936. (It’s the oldest Lutheran church in the county that has always been in the county. St. John’s was in Lexington County for a time.)

Turn left on Jollystreet Road. At the intersection of Old Jollystreet on the left is the old Jollystreet School. The first school on this site was begun in 1845. Follow Jollystreet Road through beautiful wooded countryside. Eventually it merges with Hwy 76. Turn right and return to historic downtown Newberry.

There and Back Again:
Circumnavigating Lake Greenwood

January 2010

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. From the Square, travel south on Nance Street and turn right on Boundary Street. Leaving town, Boundary Street becomes Hwy 34. Cross the north fork of Scott’s Creek. After Hwy 121 joins in, cross Bush River. At the foot of Harold Bowers Road on the left is the Welch-Paysinger House, a typical Newberry County farm house, built circa 1830. When Hwy 34-121 splits, bear to the right to stay on Hwy 34. Visible through the bare winter foliage is a stand of cabbage palms. When Deadfall Road merges in, be sure to notice the old road trace to the right with its high embankment and large trees. Welcome to Silverstreet, which was founded in 1852 as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad.

On the way out of town, Hwy 34 bends sharply to the left. On the left near here was the site of Shady Grove Methodist Church. It merged with Old Kadesh and Moon’s Meeting House in 1836 to form nearby Trinity. Just beyond Bowles Road on the right, the ante bellum Bowles House with its massive piers can be seen. Cross Little River. Down the road on the left is Old Town Road. Saluda Old Town was the site of a ferry on the Saluda River. Across the river was an Indian village which hosted Royal Governor James Glenn for the 1755 Treaty of Old Town. This stretch of Hwy 34 is particularly straight. Coming into Chappells, the old Main Street is visible to the left. Thomas Chaple started a ferry over the Saluda River near here in 1756. The town began as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad. Following a flood in 1928, the main road was moved about a third of a mile upstream, bypassing the old downtown, which in turn succumbed to a fire in 1940. Cross Hwy 39 and stay on Hwy 34.

On the right is Buzzards Roost, the site of the Lake Greenwood Dam. The lake was formed in 1940 by damming the Saluda River to provide hydro-electric power. The lake provides 212 miles of recreational shoreline and covers 11,400 acres. Cross the Saluda River into Greenwood County. Greenwood County was formed in 1897 from parts of Edgefield and Abbeville Counties. The name came from the town of Greenwood which had been established as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad. The town’s name had come from a nearby plantation. On the right is a public access point and ramp for Lake Greenwood. At Dyson’s Crossroads (the four-way stop) turn right on Hwy 702. Turn right into Lake Greenwood State Park. (There is a small fee for entering the park and museum. If you’re not spending, turn around at the gatehouse.) This park is on the site of an old CCC Camp. Among the visible features of the camp are picnic shelters, a boathouse and a series of terraces leading down to the lake. There is a CCC museum in the park office. Leaving the park, bits of road trace can be seen in the woods. This is most likely a part of the old Island Ford Road which ran from Fishdam Ford on Broad River to the Island Ford on the Saluda and on to Ninety Six. Cross Hwy 702 at the exit on to Island Ford Road. On the right is Greenwood Shores Baptist Church. Cross Wilson Creek. Turn right on Hwy 34. (According to the map, this is Godsey.) Just beyond the turn for the brick company are two old houses, one on the left and one on the right. On the left is a one-story farm house with an open foundation of brick piers (once a very common site in this area). On the right is a two-story house with square piers and a wraparound porch.

Coming into Ninety Six on the left are rows of brick houses which were originally part of the mill village. The mill was opened in 1902. The present town was formed as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad in 1852. The origin of the town’s name is shrouded in mystery since it doesn’t appear to be ninety-six miles from anywhere (even when you consider that the town was originally four miles away next to Star Fort). Current research indicates that the name refers to a series of creeks which crossed the old Cherokee Trail. Nine in the region flow east to the Saluda River, while six flow south as though toward the Savannah River. When you crossed the nine and the six, you were approaching the ridge between the river valleys.

Bear right on Main Street. The brick storefronts are reminiscent of those in Newberry. Watch for beautiful nineteenth century homes. Turn right on Church Street and right again on Cateechee Street. The name of this street comes from a legend about Ninety Six from the time of the French and Indian War. Cateechee was the step-daughter of the Cherokee chief at Keowee. She fell in love with a trader from Ninety Six. When she heard that the Cherokee were planning a raid on Long Cane and Ninety Six, she road to Star Fort to warn her lover. Turn left on Cambridge Street. Cambridge is a point on the map about ten miles south which was largely abandoned after a smallpox epidemic and a fire. On the right is the Presbyterian Church. Though the present building was begun circa 1860, the church has its roots in 1774 in Cambridge. The churchyard exhibits the “Newberry Effect” with a number of familiar names on gravestones. Down the street on the left is St. Paul’s Methodist Church in a large frame building. Turn right on Church Street Extended and right on Faith Street to visit Elmwood Cemetery. This picturesque cemetery has a lot of familiar-sounding names. Return to Cambridge Street (Hwy 246) and turn right. Leaving town, cross Wilson Creek again and watch for an old road trace to the right. Bear left at the intersection to stay on Hwy 246.

On the right are two large industries, Ascend Performance Materials and Fujifilm. Turn right on Hwy 72 at Coronaco. The name “Coronaco” is thought to be either an Indian word or a corruption of “corn acre,” after all “Saluda” means “river of corn.” Of course at this point the river is still under Lake Greenwood. Welcome to Laurens County. Like Newberry, Laurens was one of six counties formed from the Ninety Six District in 1785. Turn right on Main Street (Hwy 39) to visit Cross Hill. According to tradition, the town received its name from its location on an old Indian trading path which ran from the fish dams on the Broad River to a similar feature on the Saluda River. (This eventually shifted around to become Island Ford Road.) Someone crossed the path at the hill to get Cross Hill. Watch for beautiful nineteenth century homes. Turn right on Liberty Springs Road. At the end of the road is Liberty Springs Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1787. Surrounding the church is an old cemetery with many familiar Newberry names. In the woods behind the church are the springs for which the church is named. Turn around. When you get to Main Street, the old Cross Hill School, built circa 1928, is visible straight ahead. Turn right on Main Street. At the triangle formed by intersecting streets is a granite obelisk, the Confederate Monument. From Main Street, bear left on Hwy 560.

Several of the creeks beyond Cross Hill join with Mudlick Creek. Cross Little River. Turn right on Hwy 56. Ahead on the right is Belfast House which was built in the early nineteenth century. The house was built by Col. John Simpson who was a native of Belfast, Ireland. Belfast is now part of a DNR Wildlife Management Area containing 4,600 acres in Laurens and Newberry Counties. Welcome home to Newberry County. On the right is Little River-Dominick Presbyterian Church. Little River Church was founded in 1764 and was the oldest Presbyterian church in the county (until it moved into Laurens County in the late nineteenth century). Dominick Church was founded in 1913. The two congregations merged in 1938 and built the present sanctuary. Turn left on Belfast Road. Follow it as it turns into O’Neal Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.


Visiting Some Downtown Churches
December 2009

Among the natural associations with the Christmas season are churches, of which we have many denominations in downtown Newberry. Today we’ll drive around town looking at some of the churches in and around the city. Along the way we’ll pass beautiful old homes all decked out for the holiday season. We might even encounter a little history here and there. Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

Since there were no churches downtown until First Baptist was established in 1831, the county Court House was one of the places where travelling ministers would preach to the citizens gathered. Many of the area congregations had their start with a meeting in the old Court House or one of the three buildings which stood here before this one was built in 1851.

From the Square, head east on Main Street. Turn left on College Street. Across Scott’s Creek on the left is Bethlehem Baptist Church, one of the oldest African-American congregations in town. It was established in 1868. The first church building occupied the narrow lot on the opposite bank of Scott’s Creek. The present church was built circa 1901 and features two towers, one obelisk-shaped and the other pyramid-shaped. Turn right on Calhoun Street. Turn left on Lindsay Street. On the left at the far corner of Cheek Street is the site of St. Monica’s. In 1894, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church established a mission called St. Luke the Physician which operated a school for African-American children on Lindsay Street beginning in 1899. Later the church changed its name to St. Monica and relocated to South Street. (St. Monica was the mother of St. Augustine and is more familiarly known as Santa Monica.) The congregation merged with St. Luke’s in the 1970’s.

We are now surrounded by the college campus. Turn right on Evans Street. Founded in 1856, Newberry College is a Lutheran-supported liberal arts school. It is the ninth oldest college in South Carolina. Originally the school housed the Lutheran Seminary as well. Turn left on Luther Street. Turn left on Cemetery Street. Turn right on College Street. Across Nosegay Park, True Light Ministries can be seen in the old Red& White building. On the right is Rosemont. Rosemont Cemetery was established in 1863 to relieve the overcrowded conditions of the older Village Cemetery. It has been expanded several times. The south entrance lines up closely with Calmes Street, which appears in old maps as the southern boundary of the cemetery. The back street which runs along the crest of the hill marks the old eastern boundary. The northern boundary was just beyond the old north entry where the other set of granite piers is standing. The monolithic granite piers which mark the older entrances were an early project of the Newberry Civic League and commemorate founders of both Rosemont and the Civic League. On the left-hand side of College Street, next to Baxter Cemetery is the Church of God. This congregation was founded in the early 1940’s.

Turn left on First Street. Ahead is the old Oakland Mill village. Like the other mills in Newberry, Oakland had a full complement of churches. Turn right on Fair Avenue. Turn left on Third Street. A Baptist congregation was organized for the mill village in 1913. A new church building was begun at 1406 Third Street in 1937 and given the name Hunt Memorial Baptist Church in honor of Walter Herbert Hunt, first president of the mill. Down the street on the right is Bethany Lutheran Church. In 1935, Gilbert Goodman, a student at the Lutheran Seminary, began holding services in the schoolhouse at Oakland. In 1936 the congregation was formed for Bethany. A lot at the corner of Third and Nance Streets (1200 Third Street) was given by the mill. The church is covered with flint rocks which were given by each Lutheran church in Newberry County. Turn left on Nance Street. On the left is Lewis Memorial Methodist Church. A Methodist church was organized in 1912 for the mill village. Originally called Oakland Methodist Church, the name was changed to Lewis Memorial in honor of W. H. Lewis, the first pastor. The present church at 1105 First Street was built on the site of Oakland School.

Turn right on Pope Street. On the right is Glory Tabernacle Pentecostal Holiness Church. Founded prior to World War I, the congregation has been on this site since the 1920’s. Down the street on the right is Pioneer Baptist Church in a white frame building. At the intersection of Hwy 121, turn left on Gray Street. On the right at the corner of Vincent Street is Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Founded in 1896, the present church was built in 1968. Turn left on Vincent Street. Turn right on Kendall Road.

Turn left on O’Neal Street. This side of town is known as West End and was the mill village for Newberry Cotton Mills. On the left is O’Neal Street Methodist Church. This Methodist congregation is an outgrowth of a tent revival held in Leavell’s Grove in 1891. (Leavell’s Grove was a park-like setting off to the right of O’Neal Street. Oak Grove on Jessica Avenue belonged to the Leavell family in the late nineteenth century.) Originally called Second Methodist, the name was changed to O’Neal Street Methodist because of their location. Turn left on Langford Street. Turn right on Main Street. The first church in the mill village was Second Baptist Church which organized in 1887 by members of First Baptist and Bush River Baptist Churches. The first building for the congregation was erected in 1899. At that time the name was changed to West End Baptist Church. The present building at 617 Main Street is the third to serve this church and was built in 1954. Turn left on Academy Street. Turn right on Crosson Street. Turn right on Drayton Street. On the right is Mayer Memorial Church. A Lutheran congregation was formed in 1899 at 1307 Drayton Street. It was named Mayer Memorial, because the church building was given by Dr. O. B. Mayer, Jr., in memory of his father. Newberry Cotton Mills was the first mill in South Carolina to have a Lutheran Church.

Turn left on Boundary Street. On the right is Saint Marks Catholic Church. It was organized in 1956. St. Mark’s stands on one end of the site of Halcyon Grove. This park-like area was on the southern side of the old village and was used by early congregations for tent revivals and brush arbors. Turn left on Nance Street. Turn right on Johnstone Street. Ahead on the left is Central United Methodist Church. Founded in 1833, the present Romanesque style building was built in 1900. Turn right on Higgins Street. Turn right on Boundary Street. On the right is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Founded as Luther Chapel in 1853, the present church building was begun in 1964. The original church bell from 1853 is in a tower next to the Family Life Center. Turn left on Caldwell Street. On the right is First Baptist Church. The oldest congregation in downtown Newberry, First Baptist was organized in 1831. The present church, the second on the site was built circa 1908.

At 500 Caldwell Street in the old Gravel Town community stands Miller Chapel AME Church. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest AME churches in the county. Caldwell Street leads into the Mollohon Mill village. Turn left on Milligan Street. On the left is Epting Memorial Methodist Church. The roots of this congregation go back to 1903 when a chapel was formed in the old Mollohon Schoolhouse. The Methodist congregation continued to meet with the Baptists until the Milligan Street church was built in 1926. The church was named for James F. Epting who organized the Sunday School program but died before the church was complete. Down the street to the left is Summer Memorial Lutheran Church. In 1911 a Lutheran Church was established for the mill village. The original church was built by the Summer brothers as a memorial to their parents, George W. and Martha D. Summer. The present church building was constructed in 1952. At the end of Milligan Street is the site of East Side Chapel. In 1907, the old (circa 1831) church building for First Baptist Church in Newberry was moved to the corner of Lee and Glenn streets for the use of the Baptist congregation in the mill village. It was replaced by the present brick building which houses Glenn Street Baptist Church.

Turn left on Glenn Street. Turn right on Main Street. Turn left on Winnsboro Hwy (Hwy 34). On the left is the original site of Aveleigh Presbyterian Church. Turn left on Wilson Road. On the left is Faith Lutheran Church. One of the newest Lutheran Churches in the county, this congregation was established in 1961 in the Harrington Heights neighborhood. Turn left on Harrington Street. Turn left on Calhoun Street. On the right is Aveleigh Presbyterian Church. Founded in 1835, the congregation moved to this site in 1852. The present church, though remodeled several times, was built after the older church burned in the Fire of 1907. On the left, at the corner of Main Street is Newberry ARP Church. Founded in 1854 as Thompson Street Church (where Lindsay Street is now), the congregation moved to this site when the old church was lost in the Fire of 1907. Turn right on Main Street. On the right is St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Organized in 1846, the circa 1855 Gothic building was demolished in the Tornado of 1984. The present church is built in the same style on the same site.

Continue along Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry (although we never really left it).


 

 

Some Country Roads That Aren’t Far Away
November 2009

It’s Thanksgiving in Newberry and that mean’s cooler weather, fewer leaves, leftover turkey sandwiches and a road trip! Start your Thanksgiving road trip on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Since Thanksgiving is the official start of the mercantile Christmas, take a moment to wander about the Square to see the tree and the wonderland of decorations. (Or you could wait until you get back and experience the Square in the dark!)

From the Square, head south on Caldwell Street. On the left is Central United Methodist Church. Founded in 1833, the present Romanesque style building was built in 1900. Turn right on Boundary Street. On the left is First Baptist Church. The oldest congregation in downtown Newberry, First Baptist was organized in 1831. The present church, the second on the site was built circa 1908. Just beyond the Baptist church on the left was the original site of Luther Chapel, which became Redeemer when it moved to its present site in 1897. These last two churches bordered a park-like area called Halcyon Grove which was on the southern edge of the old village. After you cross Nance Street, Saint Marks Catholic Church is on the left. It was organized in 1956. Stay on Boundary Street. Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road. Down the road on the right (at the historical marker) is the Quaker Cemetery. The Quakers (a sect of Puritans with obvious ties to Thanksgiving) began settling in Newberry in the 1760’s. Most moved west in the first decade of the nineteenth century, but services were held here until 1822. Turn right on St. Mary’s Church Road. (We’ve barely been travelling ten minutes and we’re already at the first of two successive old dirt roads to investigate.) Turn right on Longshore Road. St. Mary’s AME Church is on the left. This is a cedar-lined road running through farm fields. Turn left on Old 96 Road. This is a vestige of the old road that led to Higgin’s Ferry before the highway was straightened. Turn left on Hwy 34-121.

Turn right on Harold Bowers Road. After a few initial bends, this is a long straight stretch of road leading to the railroad. Turn right on Belfast Road. As you cross Bush River, look to the right to see an old metal trestle bridge. Turn left on Brown Chapel Road. Turn left on Thunder Road. This is another old dirt road, just minutes from downtown. Driving across fields, through wooded areas and beside creeks, it’s amazing the wildlife that can be seen. (When I took the trip, I found lots of wandering Jersey cows and a blue heron.) At the end of the road, turn right on Bush River Road. As you approach Helena, traces of the old railroad tracks can be seen off to the right. The railroad leading from Newberry to Laurens was built in 1854 and split from the South Carolina Railroad at Helena. When Oakland Mill was opened in 1911, the railroad was rerouted to split at Newberry behind the present Newberry Elementary School (the old High School) so that it could go by the cotton mill. Turn left on Hwy 121 (Kendall Road).

On the right, just beyond Nance Street, is Marion Davis Park with the horseshoe pitching lanes. (Long-time Newberrians might remember that a park of that name was once located near the Post Office.) A leader in road improvements, Davis was superintendant of Newberry Cotton Mills and mayor of Newberry. Turn left on Fair Avenue. At the top of the hill on the left is Oakland Mill, the only cotton mill still standing in Newberry. Begun in 1910, it was purchased by Kendall Mills in 1925. Kendall Mills closed in 1985 but continued operations as American Fiber & Finishing until 2008. Turn left on North Street, once the northern boundary of the city limits. Cross College Street into Rosemont Cemetery. Although the cemetery was founded in 1863, the Calmes family cemetery (the brick enclosure at the top of the hill) is much older. Thanksgiving is a good time to visit the cemetery and remember our founding fathers (and mothers). Leave the cemetery by turning right on College Street. Turn left on Hwy 76. Turn right on Sweet Springs Road. Here’s another country road not far from downtown. Across from the end of the road, a nineteenth century farmhouse peers out through the woods. Turn left on Old Whitmire Hwy. Near the end of Folk Road on the left is the entrance to the path leading to Tea Table Rock where the ladies of Newberry waylaid Tarleton’s troops on the way to Cowpens, thus winning the Revolutionary War.

Turn left on Beth Eden Church Road. On the right is Beth Eden Lutheran Church, established in 1843. On a bend in the road to the left is the ante-bellum Renwick-Carlisle House. Turn right on Monument Road. On the left is the monument (for which the road is named) commemorating the crash of two B-25s in 1943. The crash site is down the road a way off to the left. Off the road to the right is the cemetery for Gilder’s Creek Presbyterian Church. Founded circa 1820 on a tributary of Indian Creek, the church had disbanded by the 1850’s. The subtle colors of late fall are like spring in reverse. With the underbrush beginning to die back for the winter, the old road trace (the steep-sided ditches that passed for roads in the early years of the county) can be seen running close by the present road. The road crosses Indian Creek with two wooden bridges. (The road washed out a bit in recent rains, but it is a relief to see water in the creek again.) At the end of the road, turn right on Old Newberry Hwy. Turn right on Hwy 121. The Annals of Newberry records a Revolutionary War incident involving Micajah Harriss and his brother-in-law James Sheppard which occurred near Indian Creek (which we’re about to cross) and King’s Creek nearby. The two were captured by Tories and sentenced to death, but the officer in charge kept passing the duty of killing off until no one was left to do the deed. Sheppard offered himself if Harriss could go free for the sake of his wife and children, but Harriss refused his brother-in-law, vowing to die together. Struck by their loyalty, the two were “paroled” and their horses taken instead.

Turn left on Hwy 176. At the intersection of Old Whitmire Hwy, an old farmhouse can be seen on the right. Cross King’s Creek. Turn left on Molly’s Rock Road. Off the road to the left is Molly’s Rock Park. After the park, the pavement gives way to another favorite road trip road. This old road was part of the stage coach route between Charleston and Buncombe County, North Carolina. The trace can be seen through the woods on either side of the old road. Turn left on Hwy 176. Just beyond Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road on the right is the Caldwell House which was built in the 1850’s. Further down the road is Enoree Baptist Church. Founded in 1768, it is one of the two oldest Baptist congregations in the county. Next to the newer brick sanctuary is an older one which was built in 1859. Turn right on St. Philip’s Church Road. There are more beautiful farmlands through here. An old farmhouse can be seen to the right. Near the end of the road, on the right is the old St. Philips School. Turn right on Hwy 219. Off the road to the left is Clayton Memorial Unitarian Church. Follow the road as it becomes Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.


Spooky Trails to You
October 2009


There’s a chill in the air and the days are growing shorter. Yards are springing up with scary decorations and pumpkins. Trees are beginning to show signs of color other than green. It’s that time of year again – time for a spooky road trip.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. While on the Square, you might want to check out a show at the Opera House, but you may get more than you’re paying for. At least two ghosts have been spotted there in the past few years. Whether they’re from a travelling show from the long history of the Opera House or new arrivals since the renovations, no one yet knows who they are. Head west on Main Street and turn right on Drayton Street. After passing Willowbrook Park, turn left on Crosson Street. Behind the Newberry Middle School on the right is the West End Cemetery. This is the setting for the “Bride of West End.” Again, no one today knows who she was or for whom she’s waiting. She can be seen in the evening wandering about the cemetery in a flowing white dress, waiting for the lover that left her waiting at the altar.

Turn right on Belfast Road. Cross Bush River. Turn left on Spearman Road. On a bend in the road to the left is the Reagin Family Cemetery. Cross Beaverdam Creek. At the end of the road, bear right on Hwy 34. Turn left on Werts Road. Just beyond the point where the road crosses Turners Creek, a section of the old Greenville Railroad crosses. Be careful at this intersection, for it was the site of a collision between a School Bus and a train. The accident occurred on December 18, 1946, and resulted in the death of the bus driver and eleven children. A monument to the crash lends a solemn feel to the place on even a sunny day, but more recently strange phenomena have been reported here. Across from the end of Werts Road is a large oak tree. This is a seedling of a large oak that was called a hanging tree. Legend has it that it is haunted by the bartender of the old tavern at the crossroads who hung himself in the early nineteenth century. Turn right on Deadfall Road.

Down the road on the left is New Chapel Methodist Church. Founded in the first decade of the nineteenth century, the church has been on this site since 1830. There is a nice cemetery behind the church. Turn right on George’s Loop. On the left is the Cannon House which was built in 1869. There’s nothing spookier than having a real tombstone in the front yard. Hang a sharp left to stay on George’s Loop. Turn right on Deadfall Road. Cross Beaverdam Creek. Turn left on Hwy 395.

The point where Hwy 395 crosses Bush River is near the site of Bobo’s Mill which is the setting for an old ghost story: the Phantom Rider of Bush River. First published in 1860, it is one of the oldest written ghost stories in South Carolina. Set during the Revolutionary War, it recounts the tale of Charity, a Quaker girl, and her lover, who was a patriot soldier. The soldier vowed to return from the war in one year, dead or alive. On the appointed day he failed to make it back, but that night the sound of his horse could be heard racing up and down the old road. No tracks were found. The sound of horses hooves tell of his attempt to find his love after death. Turn right on Cannon Swamp Road.

Turn left on Schumpert Mill Road. Turn right on Clara Brown Road. Cross Kinards Creek. Turn left on St. Luke’s Church Road. Around a bend in the road on the left is the old Dunker Cemetery. The old cemetery is a favorite of road trips. (The mailbox contains information on the cemetery, but it still looks spooky.) Turn right on Fire Tower Road and then left on Clara Brown Road. Cross Timothy Creek. Coming into Prosperity, the Moseley House, circa 1880, is on the left. Spanish moss on trees in the yard gives it a haunting feel. Turn right on Main Street. Turn right on Broad Street and then left on McNeary Street. At the edge of town on the left is the Prosperity Cemetery. The oldest section of the cemetery was the graveyard from Prosperity ARP Church. In the late nineteenth century, a mysterious glow was seen over the trees at the edge of the cemetery. It was never satisfactorily explained. Turn left on Rikard School Road. Turn right on Macedonia Church Road. Cross Susannah Branch.

Turn left on Mt. Pilgrim Church Road. On the right is Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church and its cemetery. Founded in 1880, the present church which is faced with field stones was constructed in 1934. Beyond the church is a view of Little Mountain looming over the landscape. At the bottom of a steep hill, cross Camping Creek. Turn right on Pa Metts Road. Turn left on Old Dutch Road. Around a bend in the road on the right is a small family cemetery. Turn right on Hwy 76 and then left on Dr. Bowers Road. Turn right on Mt. Tabor Road. On the right are Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church and its cemetery. The church was organized in 1880. Turn left on Main Street. Though the Town of Little Mountain was incorporated in 1890, it is the setting of a much older tale. The Weber Heresy took place in 1760 and involved a land grant scam, sacrilege and murder. Jacob Weber convinced the locals that he was God and that his wife and son were the Virgin Mary and Jesus. After the murder of John Smithpeter, one of his conspirators, Weber was tried and hanged in Charleston. Turn left on Pomaria Street. At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 176.

Cross Crim’s Creek into downtown Pomaria. Turn right on Holloway Street. Turn right on Hwy 176 and left on St. Paul Road. In the nineteenth century, near St. Paul’s, a woman was accused of witchcraft. After a train had run over her cow, she spread fat on the tracks so that the train would skid and stop on the spot. She gave the crew a “blessing out.” Turn right on Jolly Street Road. At the intersection of Old Jolly Street Road, the old schoolhouse is on the right. On the left, before the intersection of St. Philip Road, is the Kinard Family Cemetery. Near here, an old Kinard House, according to legend, was haunted. Even after nailing the doors and windows shut, they would nightly open and close. Turn right on St. Philip Road. Cross Cannon’s Creek. Turn left on Halfacre Road. On the right at the corner of Clayton Church Road is the Gallman House, circa 1860. Near the end of the road on the left is the DeWalt-Gray-Gallman Cemetery. The sound of horse’s hooves can be heard hear sometimes at night. (There are other such traditions around the county. Could they all be part of the Phantom Rider tale, or do we have several ghostly riders in Newberry?)

Turn right on Oxner Road. Turn left on Hwy 34. Turn right on General Henderson Road. On the left is the National Guard Armory. At the end of the road, turn right on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road. Turn left on Kings Creek Road. (An old Honey Locust tree sets the stage for some Persimmon beer.) Cross the south fork of King’s Creek before reaching the highway. Cross Hwy 121 and Little King’s Creek. Across a field to the right near the end of the road stands the George W. Glenn House. It is said to be haunted. Mysterious blood stains have been reported on the floorboards.

Turn left on Old Whitmire Hwy. Turn left on Hwy 76 and right on College Street. On the left is Rosemont Cemetery. The Annals of Newberry records that ethereal music has been heard in the cemetery. Listen for it as you return to historic downtown Newberry.


Old Newberry Had a Farm, EIEIO
September 2009

Farming has been a part of Newberry since before it was “Newberry.” As the colonial inhabitants pushed westward into Indian lands, they began establishing farms in this area in the 1740’s. By the end of the eighteenth century Newberry was covered with small farms growing corn, wheat and tobacco. When Col. Robert Rutherford introduced the Whitney cotton gin to the area in 1796, it wasn’t long before short staple cotton became the principle crop in Newberry. By the end of the nineteenth century progressive farmers began to diversify and raise other crops. Cotton eventually took its toll on the land and other crops were raised out of necessity. Today Newberry has a very diverse agricultural base and this trip will help celebrate it.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Head south on Caldwell Street. Crossing the south fork of Scott’s Creek, will bring you to the site of Innesfallen Dairy. The dairy, considered a model farm for the day with a herd consisted of about 40 Jersey cows, was operated by A. J. McCaughrin until 1909 when the property was sold to Mollohon Manufacturing Company. Turn left on Nance Street and stay on it as it becomes Hwy 395. On the right at the intersection of Hawkins Road is the site of another early dairy farm, the Sanitary Dairy. Owned by George W. Summer and first operated by Jesse Frank Hawkins, this dairy was one of four which served the city of Newberry in the years following World War I. Hawkins later operated his own dairy, served in the House and Senate of South Carolina and was named to Clemson’s Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Turn right on Mendenhall Road. On the right is Carter & Holmes Orchids. Across the road is a herd of Charolais, a breed of beef cattle originating in France and first introduced to America in 1936. Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road. Ahead on the right is the Quaker Cemetery. The Quakers were known for their industry and the productivity of their small farms. Cross Bush River and turn right on Quaker Road. Turn left on Hwy 121.

Turn right on Harold Bowers Road. The site of the Spearman Farm, where the first registered Guernsey herd in South Carolina was established in 1880, was over the hill to the left. Off the road to the right is Neel’s Chicken Farm. Turn left on Stoney Battery Road. Ahead on the left is a field of corn which looks a little worse for wear in this year’s dry summer. Much of the corn in fields now is destined for silage. Cross the railroad tracks. Newberry’s position on the railroad allowed for the successful transport of nineteenth century products to market. A windmill stands at a farm off to the left. After Field View Road on the right is an old house site with the chimneys still standing. Turn left on Green Tree Road. Ahead is a field of soybeans. Soybeans were introduced to the county in the 1960’s. In a field to the right are rolled bales of hay. This will be a common site on this trip. Cross a marshy section of Welch Creek with lots of cattails. Down the road to the left is a herd of beef cattle. Turn left on Trinity Church Road. As you pass through the Waldrop’s dairy farm, notice the silos. A large number of silos is usually a good indication of a dairy farm – the cows need to eat a lot to produce that milk. On the left is Trinity Methodist Church along with its cemetery. Trinity Church was established in 1835 by the merger of two older congregations, Kadesh and Shady Grove. Turn right on Silverstreet Road. On either side are fields and pastures – mown, plowed and growing.

Turn left on Island Ford Road. On the right is a herd of Holsteins (the black and white spotted dairy cows). Turn right on Belmont Church Road. On the left is Belmont Baptist Church, an early African-American congregation. The old church bell is mounted on their sign, and there is an extensive cemetery around the church. At the edge of the fields are Honey Locusts. Their maturing pods remind me that persimmon beer season is coming up. Turn left on Belfast Road. On the right is the Floyd-Baker House, built circa 1845. This was the home of Washington Floyd. In 1860, he was the largest slaveholder in the county with 200 slaves. Turn right on Floyd Road. Running parallel to the road are two branches of Sandy Run Creek. Be sure to “moo” at the cows. (It’s okay to “moo” at beef cattle. After all, you need the beef roast if you’re going to make Liver Nips.) On the right is Heydt’s Turkey Farm. Raising turkeys was introduced to Newberry County in 1939 by Waldo Huffman. Today, turkeys are involved in the county’s largest employer, Louis Rich. On the left are some goats. Raising goats has become more popular in recent years.

Turn right on Bush River Road. On the right is Bush River Baptist Church. Called the mother church of Baptists in the area, Bush River was established by 1771. The older part of the cemetery is ahead on the right. Down the road on the right is Bishop’s Farm with turkeys and soybeans. Further down the road is Braswell Farm with its massive farmhouse built in the 1850’s. There is a nice crop of collards across the road. Also on Bush River Road is Bush River Jerseys, home of the Vend-a-Moo. Turn left on Paul Long Road. Turn left on Herman Wise Road. All along the ditches and field edges, keep an eye out for the gold of Bitterweed and Goldenrod and the white of Rabbit Tobacco, all of which are in bloom now. Turn left on Hwy 76.

As you cross the railroad bridge, look to the left to see the old Ballentine Dairy Farm, the original home of the farm museum. At Jalapa, the Clary House, circa 1850, will be on the left. Bear right on Jalapa Road. Ahead are fields of cotton, once again a contributor to the agricultural economy. On the right is St. James Lutheran Church. Founded as Liberty Hill in 1840, it has been on this site as St. James since 1889. After the cotton fields, pine trees appear on either side of the road. Controlled reforestation in the twentieth century has produced an important timber industry in the county. About one-seventh of the county’s acreage falls in the Sumter National Forest. After crossing I-26, Count’s Turkey Farm is on the right.

Turn right on Beth Eden Road. After Mt. Zion Church Road there is a cluster of Persimmon trees, their fruit beginning to turn a pale shade of orange. On the left is the monument commemorating the crash of two B-25’s in 1943. Cross Gilder’s Creek. On a bend in the road to the right is the ante bellum Renwick-Carlisle House. Down the road on the left is Beth Eden Lutheran Church which was founded in 1843. Turn right on Old Whitmire Hwy.

Turn left on Hwy 76 and remain on Wilson Road. Turn right on Bay Street. Off to the right, an old pond is visible. On its banks (now at Springfield Place) Samuel Crotwell operated a cheese factory beginning in 1897. Turn right on Myrtle Street (Dave Drive). Turn left on Harrington Street. Turn left on Glenn Street. Bear left on Adelaide Street. On the left are the Newberry County Fairgrounds. Originally part of the Johnstone lands (of which Lynches Woods is also a part), the fair buildings were constructed here in 1935 as part of a WPA project. Today, one wing of the front building is home to the Ballentine Farm Museum.

 

Back To School II
August 2009

As students and teachers begin their new school year, it’s time to take a look at some of the county’s school buildings old and new. Today, all of Newberry is covered by one school district. When the Public School system was begun in the late nineteenth century, each community sponsored its own school. In 1900, there were 57 school districts in the county and all but one had both a black and a white school. As the twentieth century progressed, smaller schools consolidated, so that by 1951 the county was down to seven districts and seven high schools. Now, our one district has 15 schools, including adult education.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Travel east on Main Street. Turn right on College Street. On the right at the corner of Johnstone Street is a stucco covered brick building which originally housed the Newberry Female Academy. The school in Newberry was divided into a boy’s school and a girl’s school. This building housed the girl’s school from the 1850’s through the 1880’s. When the public school was established, the Female Academy building served as the first public school while Boundary Street School was under construction. Turn right on Boundary Street. Just over the bridge on the left is the imposing red brick house built by Dr. Pressley Ruff in 1856. The house is built on the site of the original Male Academy. Turn right on Jessica Avenue. On the left is Oak Grove with its neoclassical Doric portico. Rev. J. Taylor Zealy operated the Newberry Female College here from 1867-8. Turn left on O’Neall Street. Just beyond Scott’s Creek is Newberry Middle School. Cross Kendall Road onto Belfast Road. Turn left on Spearman Road. Down the road on the right is Reuben Elementary School. This school was named for Dr. Odell Richardson Reuben (1918-70), a native of Silverstreet who served as President of Morris College in Sumter from 1948-1970. At the end of the road, turn left on Main Street (Hwy 34).

Turn left on School Street. As the name implies, this street leads to the site of Silverstreet School. Though much of the site is in disrepair, the 1926 auditorium on the right is still in use. In 1924, the schools at Deadfall, Utopia, Burton, Mt. Zion, Trinity, Silverstreet, Reagin and Ridge Spring consolidated to form this school. Turn right on Lake Street. Turn left on Church Street. On the right is Silverstreet Lutheran Church. Though the congregation has its roots in the Deadfall Mission of 1874, this church was established in 1908. Turn right on Woodland Way. As the road bends sharply to the right there is a small house with pink siding which was built out of the old Deadfall Schoolhouse. Turn right on Hwy 34 and then take a sharp left on Deadfall Road. Down the road on the left is New Chapel Methodist Church, founded in the first decade of the 19th century. New Chapel marks the beginning of Utopia community. It was named by the students at the local school who felt their home resembled Thomas Moore’s fictional land. In the woods across Beaver Dam Creek was the site of Utopia School. Across from Hannah AME Church is Hannah School, a Rosenwald school from the 1930’s. In the 1960’s it, too, was consolidated into Silverstreet. Turn right on Hwy 395. Turn left on Stoney Hill Road.

Down the road a few miles on the right is Stoney Hill School. This school was established in 1924 when two older schools in the area, St. Luke’s (circa 1872) and Big Creek (circa 1890) joined forces. Classes were last held here in 1958. On the left at the intersection of St. Luke’s Church Road is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, established in 1828. Stay on Stoney Hill Road. Turn left on Hwy 391 (Mc Neary Street in Prosperity). On the right at Rikard School Road is the Prosperity Cemetery (even on a back to school trip I can’t resist a good cemetery). Jog to the right as the road bends and turn left on Main Street. Turn left on School Drive. On the right is the old Prosperity School which now serves as Town Hall. Prosperity can lay claim to being the oldest public school in the county with an ancestry dating back to Crosson Field School of 1868. The present building dates back to 1927, when area schools began to consolidate. Turn left on Brown Street and then right on Main Street. Turn left on Grace Street. On the right, the addition to Grace Lutheran Church (organized 150 years ago in August 1859) is coming along well. Turn right on Hwy 76. On the left is Prosperity-Rikard Elementary School.

On the right at the corner of Cy Schumpert Road is the new Mid-Carolina High School, with the Middle School across the street. Mid-Carolina Schools was the result of the consolidation of Prosperity, Little Mountain, Pomaria, Peak, Stoney Hill and O’Neal Schools. Continue on Hwy 76 toward Little Mountain. As you pass Mt. Pilgrim Church Road, Oak Grove Presbyterian Church is visible to the right across a field. There is another Rosenwald School in front of it. Turn left on Mt. Tabor Church Road. On the right is Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church. The congregation started an academy in 1885 that eventually became Little Mountain School. Turn left on Main Street. Turn right on Mill Street. Ahead is Little Mountain Elementary School which is currently being renovated and added on to. The school has been on this site since 1908. The auditorium and some of the classrooms were built in 1929. Turn around. Turn right on Main Street. Turn left on Pomaria Street. On the right is Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (founded in 1891) with its new addition.

Pomaria Street becomes Hwy 202. At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 176. Down the road on the left is Pomaria Plantation which was built circa 1826. (My first grade teacher, Mrs. Huggins, lived there.) Turn left on Hope Station Road. On the right is St. John’s Lutheran Church which was originally established in 1754. On the left are the old church (circa 1809), an old school and the cemetery. The 1763 land grant included land for religious and educational purposes. The school at St. John’s operated until 1921 when it consolidated with Pomaria. Down the road on the left is Hope School, a Rosenwald school which has very recently been renovated as a community center. At the end of the road, across from the old W. D. Summer Store, turn left on Peak Road (this becomes Folk Street as you come into town). On the left is Pomaria Lutheran Church (organized in 1910). This church was the outgrowth of a Sunday school held in the nearby Bethel Academy in 1906. In 1921, Bethel Academy (not to be confused with Mt. Bethel Academy) and St. John’s School merged to form Pomaria School which is ahead on the left. Turn right on Holloway Street. Turn right on Hwy 176. On the left is a historical marker commemorating the site of the Eichelberger House, where the Lutheran Seminary was established in 1831. Also on the left is Pomaria-Garmany Elementary School. Turn right on New Hope Road. On the left is Bethlehem Lutheran Church (organized circa 1788). Bethel Academy was an outgrowth of this congregation.

Turn left on Graham Road. Before you get to St. Matthew’s Road on the right is the site of Pressley School. Schools in this section of the county were so far removed from the county’s high schools that many were bused to Monticello High School in Fairfield County. Turn left on Hwy 34. Turn right on Ringer Road. Cross Heller’s Creek (several times). Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Church Road. Turn right on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road. Turn right on Hwy 176 and right again on Molly’s Rock Road. In the woods off to the right is the site of Mt. Bethel Academy. Founded by early Methodists, the classical academy opened in 1795. The academy provided most of the first students for South Carolina College (now USC). The school operated for about twenty-five years. Turn right on Hwy 176. Turn left on Old Whitmire Highway. On the right is the site of Long Lane School. A brick school was built here in 1922 when the older schools of Beth Eden Church and King’s Creek Church merged. Granite retaining walls can still be seen marking the site.

At the end of Old Whitmire Hwy, turn left on Hwy 76 and right on College Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.



The Newberry Code:
A Different Kind of Road Trip

(July 2009)

The following is a Road Trip based on a fictional premise. The places and events are real, but their interconnectedness is questionable. There has been a lot of publicity lately about hidden codes in famous landmarks and works of loosely historical fiction which reveal the underlying connections. This trip follows along that type of vein: that our founding fathers built our town with a hidden premise or message. This preface is included only to warn those who might take it seriously. (This is a walking road trip, so be sure to dress for the weather and keep hydrated.) Follow the architectural elements of Newberry and see where they lead.

Begin your journey to enlightenment on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. The Square around the Old Court House is the heart of downtown Newberry. This two acre lot was given by John Coate to the newly formed county in 1789 as a site for the court house and jail which would act as the judicial and governmental seat for Newberry County. Since we all know that Newberry is the center of the universe, this means that the Square is the center of the center. In essence it is like the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The original town was laid out by Marmaduke Coate as a series of blocks surrounded by a grid of narrow streets. The Coates became the first real estate developers in the downtown, selling off the blocks in one quarter acre lots. This accounts for the land from Boundary Street to Harrington Street and from Nance Street to College Street. While on the Square, have a seat in the wooden park bench and take a look at the pediment of the Old Court House’s portico. The decorative allegory was added in 1879 when this building (the fourth court house on the site) was being repaired following a fire. In this version of the “Scales of Justice,” an eagle (the Federal government) uproots a Palmetto tree (South Carolina) while a dove of peace (Reconstruction) tries vainly to balance a Gamecock (our defiant spirit). Take a closer look at the gamecock. Originally it sported a gold coin for its eye (the coin subsequently disappeared during a later renovation), giving it a special emphasis and marking it as the starting point for our quest. The gamecock appears to be staring at something beyond the eagle or the dove. If you follow the line of sight for the bird, you will see that it is really looking at the tower of the Opera House (despite the fact that the Opera House hadn’t been built yet.)

At the corner of Boyce and McKibben Streets is the Newberry Opera House. Since its completion in 1882 as city offices and an auditorium, the Opera House, too, has been a hub of community activity. This handsome brick building features round arches, segmental arches (encompassing a segment of a semicircle), granite trim and fine corbelled brickwork. Perched atop the Opera House is a garfish acting as a weather vane. Though it points in many directions, it must be suggesting a path to Scott’s Creek. Walk north on McKibben Street. On the left is the old Fire Station. The original fire department was in the Opera House, but a separate building was completed in the 1890’s. This was later remodeled in the Art Deco style of the 1930’s. On a building to the right is a Coca Cola advertisement from the 1930’s (a refreshing reminder on a hot day) which was restored about ten years ago. From the intersection of Harrington Street, the Coppock House (home of the Newberry County Museum) can be seen on the next hill beyond Scott’s Creek. Turn right on Harrington Street. This isn’t the creek, but the street is parallel to it, and there may be a clue ahead.

On the left at the corner of Caldwell Street is a small brick building that was built as a veterinary office circa 1940. It has decorative brick trim and round arches suggesting that this is the right track. (Speaking of tracks, the basement vents on this building are made from train wheel hubs.) Ahead is the County Court House. This neoclassical building was constructed in 1908 and features Ionic columns (the ones with the scrolls in the capitals), a round arch and other classical details. Signaled by the arch and the columns, it’s time to change direction. Turn left on College Street. Across from the post office is the original site of the Gauntt house. Most of the land ahead of us up to the college was at one time part of the Gauntt farm. City Hall is on the right in the old Newberry Federal building. Scott’s Creek is straight ahead. Across the creek, the office of Pope & Hudgens reminds us of refreshment in the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant. Bethlehem Baptist Church, circa 1901, with its obelisk-shaped tower is a clue to go upstream. Cross the parking lot for Lindsay Furniture (in the old A&P building) to get to the Japanese Gardens.

A point of tranquility in an urban setting this exotic garden begun in 1930 could be a destination itself. Pause for a seat in the shade on a curved stone bench. To the right, the gate house roof curves upward, pointing back to town. Follow the avenue of crape myrtles and begin walking along Lindsay Street toward town. The steeple of Redeemer can be seen above the skyline. The granite retaining walls behind the Court House suggest another turn. Turn left on Martin Street. Martin Street Beer Parlor was established in 1947 and might suggest another form of refreshment. Ahead, a granite tower rises over the flies of the Ritz Theater (circa 1936). Ahead, the Agriculture building and the School District Office are reminders of other important aspects of life in Newberry. Near the end of the street the residential district begins. At the end of Martin Street on the left is the Hunt-Summer House which was built in 1908. The houses along this section of Calhoun Street all have wide eaves to shade the upper stories and wide porches which often wrap around the sides. The Ionic Columns on the Hunt-Summer House suggest a turn.

Turn right on Calhoun Street. Immediately on the right is Aveleigh Presbyterian Church. Founded in 1835, the congregation moved to this site in 1852. The present church, though remodeled several times, was begun in 1907 after the old church was destroyed in the Great Fire. Ahead on the left is Newberry ARP Church (also circa 1907) and on the right is St. Luke’s Episcopal Church which was rebuilt after the Tornado of 1984. All of these churches feature Gothic arches (slender and pointed) and urge us to go straight ahead. After crossing Main and then Friend Streets, there is a cluster of columned houses. On the left is the John Kinard House (circa 1900) with porches of Ionic columns. Ahead, through the trees at the end of Calhoun Street is Coateswood (circa 1848) with Doric columns (similar to those found on the Old Court House). On the right is the Floyd-Carpenter House (circa 1902) with a curved portico of Corinthian columns (leafy capitals). All these columns signal a turn. Turn right on Johnstone Street. Across from the Anderson House (a brick home circa 1890) is a granite marker in the yard of the Paysinger House which marks the spot where Newberry troops were mustered for the War Between the States. On the right is the Pool-Trefsgar House (circa 1910) with Ionic columns across the wide front porch. Turn left through the church parking lot.

Across from the end of the parking lot is the Higgins House (circa 1820). The portico indicates a turn. Turn right on Boundary Street. The arches in the Family Life Center and the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer mark that this is the right way. Founded in 1853, this 1965 church is the third building to house the congregation. Across the street, granite retaining walls mark the site of the old Boundary Street School. The present school building has more segmental arches leading the way along this street. In the distance to the right, the tower of Central Methodist can be seen. On the right at the corner of College Street is the Female Academy. Built in the 1850’s, it was the only brick school building in the county before the Civil War. Ahead is First Baptist Church (circa 1908) with its Doric portico. Turn right on Caldwell Street.

Immediately on the right are two early twentieth century houses with wide front porches. On the right is Central Methodist Church. Built in 1900, this church features many round arches and beautiful stained glass windows. On the left at the corner of Friend Street is the first building that was constructed to house the Post Office. Prior to its 1880 construction, the post office was housed in the hotel. Corbelled arches in the facade suggest this is the right path. The arches continue in the Old Hotel at the corner of Main Street. This Romanesque style building was designed by G. L. Norman (who later designed the Opera House) in 1880.

Across the street, a mural on the side of Jezebelles depicts an early twentieth century street scene. A gentleman reads a copy of the Observer while sitting on a park bench. Now missing arches from the hotel are reflected in the painted store windows. Is the man in the mural really looking at the paper? By standing in front of him and looking back at the hotel, it could be that he is really staring at an unusual decoration on a third floor gable window: a curious smiling face. This enigmatic Mona Lisa smile suggests a conclusion. If there is a hidden message downtown, it might be this: enjoy those wide porches during the summertime, observe the town around you and smile. After all, this is the city of friendly folk! (Also some cold refreshment might be in order, too.)

 

May Road Trip
May 2009

This is a month of commemoration. So far we’ve had Mother’s Day, Confederate Memorial Day and Memorial Day, and Father’s Day is just around the corner. No matter where you drive in Newberry County, there’s something nearby related to commemoration. It’s a beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy nature’s plenty and maybe encounter some history or a special memory along the way.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Before leaving, wander around and visit the war memorials behind the Old Court House (Confederate Monument, Korean War and the Vietnam War) and in Memorial Square across from the Opera House (World War I and World War II). Take a moment to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. From the Square, head east on Main Street. Turn left on College Street. Just past Newberry College is Rosemont Cemetery. Established in 1862 to replace the overcrowded Village Cemetery, Rosemont is another good place to remember and commemorate.

Turn right on Whitener Road. Turn left on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road. May is resplendent with beautiful blossoms and the recent rain has produced lush foliage. Among the many blooms found along the roadsides during this trip are various Roses (mostly white, red and pink), Yucca (tall spikes of creamy white flowers), Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisies, Vetch (mostly purple), Honeysuckle, Prickly Pear Cactus (yellow flowers – mind the thorns) and the ubiquitous orange Daylily.

On the left is the old Kennerly House, a two story frame home built circa 1900. Across I-26 is the Brown House, a typical farmhouse with end chimneys made of granite. If you remember the old mural that used to be on the side of Newberry Drug, this was the house in the background. The granite in the chimney reminds us that there is a granite ridge which runs almost east to west across the county. In fact, just down the road granite outcroppings and boulders begin to appear. On the left at the corner of King’s Creek Road stands a one story frame house built in the mid-19th century. The old Mt. Bethel-Garmany School is also on the left. It is now a community center. Lebanon Methodist Church is on the left. It was founded in 1875, and its cemetery is down the dirt road to the side of the church. On the right, in a bend in the road is the Chalmers-Brown House. Begun in the 1830’s, it was enlarged in the 1850’s.

At Hwy 176, jog to the right to stay on Mt. Bethel-Garmany Road. Even with the underbrush filling in, the old road trace is visible in many places. Turn left on Mt. Pleasant Church Road. There are lots of Honey Locust trees along hear which evoke thoughts of fall and persimmon beer. On the left is the Graham House, a typical farm house with end chimneys and a wide front porch. Like many older homes, it has two front doors. Just beyond Ringer Road on the left, the Darby cemetery overlooks the road. Stay on Mt. Pleasant Church Road as Maybinton Road veers off to the left. Down the road on the left will be Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church. Though the present church was built in the twentieth century, the congregation was established in 1822. After the road bends to the right beyond Old Blair Road is Glymphville. Once large enough to boast a post office, the name of the community is still preserved in a road name.

Cross Hwy 34 onto Broad River Road. After St. Matthew’s Church Road is the Suber-Dickert House on the left. Built by the Suber family in the 1850’s, it was later the home of Col. Augustus Dickert. Among other things, Col. Dickert is remembered for riding his horse up the steps of the Old Court House during a heated political rally in 1876. Down the road on the right is Crooks House. Built in 1896, it has a wraparound porch with decorative brackets. At the corner of New Hope Road is an old store building with its front porch resting on piers made of pebbles and small rocks. This was Ruff’s Store. While crossing the first “fill” at Heller’s Creek, notice the causeway to the old bridge below on the right. Down the road is the Cannon’s Creek Fill. These “fills” were created when the Broad River was dammed for the Parr Reservoir. Turn right on Peak Road (even though we aren’t going there this time and the road doesn’t go there either). On the right is the old Summer’s Store. Turn left on Hope Station Road. On the right is St. Paul’s AME Church. Next door to it is the old Hope School, a Rosenwald School which is being renovated as a community center. At the top of the hill, Little Mountain can be seen rising in the distance. Near the Crim’s Creek crossing, the newest section of the Palmetto Trail crosses the road. This segment begins at Alston in Fairfield County, crosses the Broad River trestle at Peak and winds up behind Wilson’s Grocery in Pomaria.

St. John’s Lutheran Church has served this area for 254 years and is usually considered the epicenter for the old Dutch Fork. The “new” church is on the left, while the school, cemetery and old church are on the right. The old church was built in 1808. The site of the original church is marked by a granite monument on the other side of the cemetery. Turn right on Hwy 176. On the right is the Stuck House which was built circa 1910. Down the road on the right is the Summer-Huggins House which was built circa 1826. This was the seat for Pomaria Plantation and the origin of the town’s name. A small building behind the house served as the first post office in Pomaria. Cross Crim’s Creek into downtown Pomaria. The town was established in 1851 as a depot on the Greenville and Columbia Railroad and has some really nice nineteenth and early twentieth century homes. Turn right on Holloway Street. On the left is Oakland House which was begun in 1821. It has a two-story portico on the front and a separate office building in the yard. On the left opposite the end of Folk Street is the Holloway House. Tradition has it that the front porch of this house (the home of the first mayor of Pomaria) served as the center point for the circle of the town limits. Turn right on Hwy 176 and then left on St. Paul’s Road. Just after the end of Jollystreet Road is the old Epting House with its wraparound porch.

On the left is St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Established in 1761, it is the oldest Lutheran congregation that has always been in Newberry County (St. John’s was in Lexington for a while). The present granite church was built in 1938 and sits beside a large cemetery. Be sure to notice the granite bench that protrudes from a tree in front of the church. Cross I-26. On the right work can be seen on the new Industrial Park. On the left is the golf course for Mid-Carolina Country Club. Turn right on Hwy 76.

Prosperity was originally called Frog Level and was also a depot on the Greenville and Columbia Railroad. Founded in 1851, the town’s name was changed to Prosperity in 1873. The town has many beautiful nineteenth century homes. On the left is Grace Lutheran Church. Founded in 1859, the church was originally called Newville. Turn left on Grace Street. At the town square, turn right on North Main Street. On the hill to the left at the edge of town is the Wise-Connelly House which was built circa 1852. Follow Main Street as it merges with Hwy 76 and return to historic downtown Newberry.

This trip is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Grace Werts Evans.

 

There & Back Again: A Saluda Excursion
April 2009

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. In front of the Old Court House is a granite marker which indicates the distance to neighboring county seats and other important places. One of the distances shown is to Edgefield. Today it is two counties over, but, prior to the 1890’s when Saluda Greenwood and McCormick Counties were formed, Edgefield was our immediate neighbor to the south. Today you would get to Edgefield by taking Highways 121 and 23 through Saluda County; however, in the days of ferries, fords and bridges, there were at least nine ways to cross over into Edgefield. We’re not going quite that far today.

From the Square turn left on Nance Street and right on Boundary Street. Follow it as it merges into Hwy 121. All through today’s Road Trip look out for the colors of spring. There are green fields stretching across rolling hills, bright green new leaves set against the dark of the evergreens and flowers in bloom everywhere. In yards, azaleas are taking the forefront while ragged robins (cornflower) dominate the fields and ditches and white and purple flags are found around old home sites. Butterflies are everywhere.

Stay on Hwy 121 through Deadfall Crossroads. On the left, after Deadfall Road, is the Blair-Boozer House. Its massive double-shouldered chimney marks it as having been built in the early 19th century. Also on the left is the Werts House which was begun in 1896. After Long Farm Road on the left is the site of the Higgins House. The house was later moved to Lake Murray. The Higgins Family operated a ferry across the Saluda River, just south of the present bridge. Cross the Saluda River into Saluda County. Originally part of Edgefield County, Saluda County was established in 1895. Its name comes from the river which, in turn, comes from an Indian word meaning “River of Corn.”

Just beyond Hightower Road on the right is the Coleman House with its impressive portico of Ionic columns. Turn right on Hollywood Road and left on Pine Pleasant Church Road. On the left is another Coleman House, this one with Corinthian columns. Down the road on the right is Pine Pleasant Baptist Church. This old brick church was established in 1831 and has a nice cemetery. Under a granite canopy in front of the church is the grave of Luther Rice (1783-1836), a Baptist minister and orator who helped organized the Baptist Church on a national scale and placed an emphasis on foreign missions and education. Continue on down the road. Notice the dogwoods blooming in the woods. This road follows the old road trace very closely. It gets a bit muddy at times, but it is nothing compared to the high-banked ditch that forms the road trace off to one side. Throughout this section of the trip most of the creeks are tributaries of Big Creek which meanders through northeastern Saluda County on its way to Little Saluda River and Lake Murray. On the right after the second creek is a series of channels which may be the site of an old mill.

At the stop sign, turn left on Zoar Road. (On the map this appears as Coleman’s Crossroads.) “Moo” at the cows in the beautiful pastures with the meandering stream. On the left is Zoar Methodist Church. Founded prior to 1830, this was originally called Persimmon Creek Church. In the cemetery are many old tombstones and an unusual grave enclosure. These enclosures over family plots were common in the 18th and 19th centuries, but are rarely seen today. This one has a wooden roof and a picket fence. At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 121. (On this side of the river it’s called Newberry Hwy.) Cross Big Creek. Turn right on John J. Rushton Road. After the pavement ends, enjoy the fields, pastures and forests. Cross Dry Creek and then Big Creek again.

Turn right on Old Town Ruritan Road. On the left, near the end of the road is a lonely old building that may have been a house or a school. Turn left on Yarborough Road. Turn left on Shiloh Church Road. Cross Big Creek again. On the right is Shiloh Methodist Church. This church was established in the 19th century and has an extensive cemetery across the road. Turn left on Hwy 39 (Chappells Road).

As you get closer to town, early 20th century houses begin to appear. When you cross into town (Saluda, the county seat), the highway becomes North Jefferson Street. On the right just beyond Elwood Street is a nice two-story house with a portico and wraparound porch. After crossing Greenwood Hwy (Travis Avenue), another grand 2-story house is on the right. Turn right on West Butler Street and left on North Calhoun Street. On the right is Mt. Pleasant Lutheran Church. Founded in 1903, the present brick church was begun in 1925. The church was remodeled in 1963 with new stained glass windows. Turn left on West Church Street. On the left, at the corner of Main Street, is the mural depicting the treaty of Old Town in 1755. Across Main Street on the right is the Saluda County Court House on the Square. Next door to the court house is the Saluda Museum in an Art Deco theater. (After the Square, the street becomes East Church Street.) At the end of the street is Redbank Baptist Church which was founded in 1784. Predating the town by over a century, it was named for nearby Red Bank Creek. The present brick church is the third sanctuary and was built in 1911. It has a portico with Ionic columns, a cupola and a bell tower to side. It has a nice extensive cemetery. Turn around and stay on Church Street.

Turn right on North Rudolph Street. On the right is Ramey Funeral Home which is housed in a turn of the century home. Turn left on East Butler Street. On the left is St. Paul’s Methodist Church which was founded in 1898. This church was rebuilt in 1917. Turn right on North Main Street and right on Travis Avenue. Turn left on Hwy 194 (North Jennings Street). Bear to the right to stay on Hwy 194 as it becomes Denny Hwy. Turn left on Butler Road and then right on Butler Church Road. The land for Butler Methodist Church was given in 1856 by Maj. Gen. William Butler and his wife Behetheland. Their home was nearby and they are buried in cemetery. The present church was completed in 1947. It has a beautiful setting, with pastures and fields all around. Return to Denny Hwy and turn left.

On right old store, cross Big Creek, Several Hollywood buildings are visible to the right, the school, fire station and Ruritan club, cross Indian Creek, on right is Salem Baptist Church, cemetery on left, cross Hwy 395 (Nance Street), Cherokee Trail joins in, left on Corinth Road, on left is Corinth Lutheran Church (1842, 1927), since my last trip out here they’ve added a family life center, memorial for Corinth School (1830-1927), stay on Corinth Road, when you get to Hwy 194, turn left, on right an interesting old house 2 story wraparound several additions, at the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 391, cross Black’s Bridge into Newberry County, turn left on St. Luke’s Church Road, Big Creek (not the same one), winding mountainous road, on right at intersection of Stoney Hill Road is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church (1828, 1957), cross 3 branches of Timothy Creek, on left at intersection of Fire Tower Road is Dunker Cemetery, Rock House, Kinard’s Creek, Lester House, turn right on Hwy 395, Hartford School, return to Historic Downtown Newberry
.


Spring Fever
March 2009

We’ve had a few warm days, but the cool days are not quite over. The deciduous trees are still bare, but the tiniest hints of spring foliage are beginning to appear. The flowering bulbs of February are nearly over, but forsythia (yellow bells) and Star of Bethlehem are here to take their place. It’s time to hit the road and enjoy some of the rolling hills, beautiful farms and winding creeks of southwestern Newberry County. While we’re at it, we’ll probably get a little history, too. Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry.

From the Square, turn left on Nance Street and follow it as it becomes Hwy 395. Turn right on Mendenhall Road. If the early blooms of spring are not enough, stop by Carter and Holmes to see some indoor blooms. Turn left on Dennis Dairy Road. On the right (at the historical marker) is the old Quaker cemetery. Most of the Quakers came to Newberry by way of Virginia and Pennsylvania. They began settling here around 1765 and remained until the congregation left beginning in 1808. Many of those families initially moved west into the Ohio River valley. At the end of the road, turn right on Deadfall Road.

While driving through the roads among fields and forests this time of year, keep an eye out for the colors of early spring. Judas trees (eastern redbud) can be seen with purple flowers and the reddish buds of maple trees are beginning to show. White blooms of pear and wild plum and the pink of peach blossoms can be seen in the edges of fields and near farm sites. A low-growing purple weed, henbit, can be seen on roadsides and in yards. Thrift, another low-growing plant, can be seen in masses of purple, pink and white in yards and at old home sites. The bright yellow trumpets of Yellow Jessamine, our state flower, also herald the coming of spring. This bloom, which is found in every corner of South Carolina, became an official state emblem in 1924.

Shortly after Deadfall Crossroads, the road merges with Hwy 34. This is Main Street for Silverstreet. Founded as Shop Springs, a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad, the town’s name was changed to Silverstreet early in its history. As Hwy 34 veers off turn right on Silverstreet Road. Turn left on Island Ford Road. A road leading from Pennington’s Fort on the Enoree to the Indian Island Ford (now under Lake Greenwood) was commissioned in 1770. That road more closely followed what is now Hwy 560 and part of Poplar Spring Road which forms the border between Newberry and Laurens Counties; however, the name is preserved in this road which has been around since at least 1807. Down the road to the left is Windmill Farm, a typical Newberry County farmhouse of the mid-nineteenth century. Cross Little River. This small river drains much of the western part of the county into the Saluda River. Cross Mudlick Creek. The Battle of Mudlick Creek, a small Revolutionary War battle, took place about five miles upstream from here. The battle took place on March 2, 1781, at William’s Fort and was considered a patriot victory (just barely). Down the road on the right is Crossroads Baptist Church. Organized in 1807, it is an outgrowth of Bush River Baptist Church. The old meeting house is set amid a beautiful cemetery. The drive follows the old road trace. A second road (hence the name of the church) came from the side near the outhouse and does not have a counterpart on today’s map.

Cross Sharp’s Creek. At the end of the road, turn right on Hwy 34. Welcome to Chappells. In 1792, Thomas Chappell was given permission to build a bridge over the Saluda River. The town grew up around the bridge (and at times ferry) which was to the east of the present bridge on Hwy 39. Stay on Hwy 34 to the very edge of the county. Just before the Saluda River bridge is Buzzard’s Roost. Turn right to get to the river access ramp. A short walk away is the Lake Greenwood dam, which was completed in 1940. The Buzzard’s Roost Hydro-electric plant is now part of Santee-Cooper. Return to Hwy 34 and turn left. Turn left on Scurry Church Road. Glimpses of Lake Greenwood may be caught to the left. On the left is Scurry-Spring Hill Baptist Church, an African-American church with an extensive cemetery. The church has an unusual façade with two short towers flanking the gable. At the intersection of Hwy 39, the Boazman House, circa 1845, can be seen with its wide front porch and decorative brackets. Turn left on Hwy 39. At the intersection of Hwy 56, the Scurry House is to the left. Begun in the early nineteenth century this home was extensively remodeled in the early twentieth century. In the distance behind the house can be seen the family cemetery.

Bear right on Hwy 56. Among the things that made land in this area so attractive to settlers were the many creeks which twist and turn through fertile farmland. First, you’ll cross Page’s Creek and then Mill Creek. Both are tributaries of Mudlick Creek, which in turn flows into Little River. About two miles up Mill Creek from this point is the site of Caldwell’s Mill. Three Revolutionary patriots (James, John and William Caldwell) lived there. Turn right on Mudlick Road. Cross Mudlick Creek. Turn left on Island Ford Road. Turn left on Sandy Run Creek Road. Along this road you will cross Mechanic Creek, Sandy Run Creek and Reeder Branch, all of which flow into Little River. The number of creeks also encourages wildlife – I saw a flock of wild turkeys along this stretch. Turn right on Brehmer Road. On the right in the middle of a field, a lonely monument in an iron fence marks a Dominick family cemetery. Turn right on Belfast Road. Turn left on Sim Abrams Road. Cross Sandy Run Creek. Turn right on Floyd Road. Turn left on Bel Ivy Road. In this part of the county, a lot of place names and roads have the prefix “bel.” This is from the Gaelic word for “spring” and is a tribute to the Scots-Irish families that settled here both before and after the Revolution. Cross Welch Creek. This creek merges with Beaver Dam Creek before joining the Saluda River.

Turn left on Belfast Road. Cross Welch Creek, again. On a hill to the left (just before you get to Rocky Creek Road) is the cemetery for Old Kadesh Methodist Church. An eighteenth century congregation, Kadesh merged with Shady Grove in 1835 to become Trinity Methodist Church. On the right is Smyrna Presbyterian Church. This church was organized in 1838 by the Boozer, Senn and Clary families. Among the many old monuments in the churchyard is one to Sgt. Henry Boozer (1756-1837) who served in the South Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War. Beyond the church on the left, the portico of The Oaks, an antebellum plantation is visible across a field. (This house has a museum connection – it belonged at one point to E. S. Coppock who also owned the home which houses the museum.) Cross Bush River. The old trestle bridge is visible to the right. After you cross Hwy 121, the road becomes O’Neall Street. Continue through the West End neighborhood and return to historic downtown Newberry.


Black History Month
February 2009

Since February is Black History Month, the Road Trip this month will have a look at some historic sites related to African-American heritage. Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. On the north side of the Square at the corner of Boyce Street (where Gentlemen’s Corner is now) was the residence and store of Antoine Gilbal. Prior to his death in 1842, Gilbal, a native of France, operated a candy store and bar in Newberry. He is also believed to have had the first inter-racial marriage in town. Walk around the Square to the Opera House. During the renovations, the grand chandelier in the auditorium was dedicated to the memory of Dr. Julian E. Grant (1900-1997) a black physician who worked in Newberry for over forty years.

From the Square, turn right on Nance Street and right on Harrington Street. Turn left on College Street. Bethlehem Baptist Church. Turn right on Evans Street. On the left is Newberry College. In 1966, Nancy Lou Anderson became the first African-American to attend. Turn right on Lindsay Street. On the left at the corner of Cheek Street is the site of St. Monica’s Episcopal Church. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church established a mission called St. Luke the Physician which operated a school for African-American children on Lindsay Street beginning in 1899. Later the church changed its name to St. Monica and relocated to South Street. The congregation merged with St. Luke’s in the 1970’s. At the end of the street, turn right on Main Street.

Turn left on McKibben Street. Traditionally, African-American businesses in the downtown were located along Nance and McKibben Streets between Main and Johnstone Streets and along Friend Street from Caldwell Street west to the railroad tracks. A brick building which is no longer standing occupied the space between the two existing buildings on the right (it would have been 1107-9). That building housed F.B. Pratt Funeral Home (established in 1929) and Singleton’s Drug Store on the ground floor with Dr. Grant’s and Dr. Benjamin Qualls’ (a dentist working here from 1923-1955) offices upstairs.

Turn left on Friend Street and right on Caldwell Street to visit Graveltown. Newberry’s oldest African-American community, Graveltown was laid out after the War Between the States along the south fork of Scott’s Creek off of Caldwell and Drayton Streets. It takes its name from its proximity to a granite quarry. Just before you cross the railroad tracks on the right is the site of Hoge School. Founded in 1867 by the Freedman’s Bureau, it was named for Samuel Hoge who was a Congressman during the Reconstruction era. After the railroad tracks on the left (at 600 Caldwell) is an early twentieth century house which was operated by Rosalie Lessane as a “Tourist Home. “ At 500 Caldwell Street stands Miller Chapel AME Church. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest African-American churches in the county. Turn right on Milligan Street and follow it the end. This is the Werts Cemetery. Many of the older monuments are handmade of concrete.

Leave the cemetery along Hill Street and turn left on Drayton Street. On the left is Drayton Street School which served as the high school for the African-American community from 1921-1954. It continued to serve as a middle school and elementary school into the 1960’s. The building that still stands was the gymnasium which was built in 1947. Turn left on Center Street. As the road bends to become South Street, the current facility for F.B. Pratt Funeral Home is on the left. Turn left on McSwain Street. Ahead on the right is the old Gallman High School. Completed in 1954, this school was built during the “separate but equal” era. It was named for Ulysses S. Gallman, Sr., who was a black educator and supervisor for the Jeanes Fund (Southern Education Fund) for forty-four years. After integration Gallman School served as a middle school and later as an elementary school. The new Gallman Elementary School is located on Hawkins Road. As McSwain Street curves around the school it becomes Brantley Street. Stay on this street and turn left on Drayton Street.

Turn right on Crosson Street and left on Vincent Street. On the right at 1706 Vincent Street is a raised cottage which was built around 1875. This was the residence of George W. Singleton who operated Singleton’s Drug Store at 1109 McKibben Street (at the time it was Nance Street). On the left, a park marks the site of the People’s Hospital (1719 Vincent Street). Dr. Grant established the hospital when he came to Newberry in 1929. It served the African-American community until about 1950, when Newberry County Memorial Hospital began treating everyone.

Continue on Vincent Street. When you cross Kendall Road you will be in Helena. Founded as a depot on the Columbia and Greenville Railroad, Helena was named for Helen O’Neall, the wife of John Belton O’Neall. It was the location of the maintenance shops for the railroad and was also the point where the Laurens Railroad branched in 1854 (the branch was later moved and is now behind Newberry Elementary School). On the right at the corner of Gray Street is Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Founded in 1896, the present church was built in 1968. Turn right on Giff Street. On the left is the new Helena Community Center. Turn left on Brown Chapel Road. Turn right on Belfast Road. Turn left on Spearman Road.

Down the road on the right is Reuben Elementary School. This school was named for Dr. Odell Richardson Reuben (1918-70). A native of Silverstreet, Dr. Reuben received his Ph.D. from Duke University and served as a Baptist minister. He was President of Morris College in Sumter from 1948-1970. At the end of the road, turn left on Main Street (Hwy 34). Turn left on Hwy 34-121. On the left, behind Senn Trucking Company is the old building for Elisha School. Elisha was one of several Rosenwald schools in the county. Rosenwald was Vice-president of Sears and set up a fund to help build black schools across the south. The local communities would raise half of the money or materials and the fund would pay the remainder. This fund helped to build standardized schoolhouses across the south. Usually the schools are closely associated with a church. This school is located about halfway between Elisha AME (on Elisha Church Road) and Welch Zion Baptist Church. Continue on Hwy 34-121. On the left is Welch Zion Baptist Church. Founded in 1890, the present church was rebuilt in 1945. The church stands on land which was given by the Welch family who lived in the house opposite the end of Harold Bowers Road.

Stay on Hwy 34-121. As you approach town it becomes Boundary Street. The west end of Boundary Street is called Cannon Town and is a traditionally African-American neighborhood. Stay on Boundary Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.


Winter Vistas
January 2009

Winter is here, and you know what that means – it’s the perfect time to see things in the woods that are usually hidden by underbrush. On this trip through the county, be on the lookout for old house sites and family cemeteries that are often obscured by foliage. A stand of deciduous hardwoods among the pines, a crumbling chimney or granite fence posts may be all that is left of a family homestead. This is the time of year to spot them. It’s also a good time to get a feel for the local geography. Without the dense underbrush, creeks are more visible as they meander through the rolling hills.

Begin your tour on the Square in historic downtown Newberry. Looking south on McKibben Street there’s something new that has appeared in the downtown vista. The classical portico of one side of the new library acts as the new focal point for the end of the street. The new building opened this month and is named for Hal Kohn, a local businessman who, among other things, operated a book store where Jezebelle’s is now.

From the Square, head south on Nance Street and turn right on Boundary Street. Bear left on Dennis Dairy Road. Be sure to watch for the Quaker Cemetery to the right. This is the most visible reminder of the Quakers that lived in Newberry from the 1760’s until the 1810’s. When you pass Dennis Dairy Lane, the road becomes O’Dell Ruff Road. Turn left on Deadfall Road. On the left is New Chapel Methodist Church. Founded in the first decade of the 19th century, the church was moved to its current site in the 1830’s. (I guess that makes the previous site “old New Chapel.”) The present church building was begun in 1879. New Chapel marks the beginning of Utopia community. Unlike Thomas Moore’s version (for which this section of the county was named) Utopia is bounded by New Chapel, the Saluda River, Bush River and Stoney Hill. Turn right on George Loop. On the left is the Cannon House which was built around 1870. It was the home of Dr. D. A. Cannon (1831-1890), a local physician. Continue bearing to the left to stay on George Loop. At the end, turn right on Deadfall Road. In the woods across Beaver Dam Creek was the site of Utopia School which consolidated with six other schools in 1924 to become Silverstreet School. Across from Hannah AME Church is Hannah School, a Rosenwald school from the 1930’s. In the 1960’s it, too, was consolidated into Silverstreet.

Turn right on Hwy 395. All through this trip watch for farmhouses. There are several old ones along this stretch of road. Turn left on Stoney Hill Road. Perched at one hilltop, the view ahead to the next hill is what I like to call “Bush River Valley.” At this point, widening toward Lake Murray, the stream looks more river-like than it does at almost any other point. Turn right on Fred Kunkle Road. This part of the trip has beautiful rolling hills. Be sure to “moo” at the cows as you pass. Turn left on Harmon Quarters Road. Turn right on Stoney Hill Road. On the right is Stoney Hill Community Center in the old school building. The school was established in 1925 when two smaller schools consolidated. In 1958, Stoney Hill was consolidated into Prosperity. On the left is St. Luke’s Lutheran Church. Founded in 1828, the present church was built in 1955. Turn right on St. Luke’s Church Road. There’s a good bit of wildlife around this time of year. Keep an eye out for hawks and geese (and of course deer). On the left, an old farmhouse is clearly visible on Hunter Lane. At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 391.

Bear to the right on Walker Road. Straight across from the end of the road is the Bedenbaugh House, a fine Victorian home. Turn right on Ira Kinard Road. On the left is O’Neall Fire Station and Community Center. Also on the left is Mt. Moriah AME Church, which was begun in 1914. Like many roads on the eastern end of Newberry County, this road ends at Lake Murray. Completed in 1930, this 50,000 acre lake was built to provide hydro-electric power. Today, it is a major recreational and residential attraction for the region. When you get to the lake, turn around and head back up Ira Kinard Road. Turn right on Huston Road.

Turn right on Bethel Church Road. There is a beautiful old farmhouse on the right. Just beyond it is Bethel Baptist Church. Founded in 1840, the present building was remodeled in 1971. Down the road on the left is Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church. Founded in 1882, the gothic revival church was built in 1890. Follow the road out to the lake and turn around. Turn left on Zion Church Road. On the left is Zion Methodist Church with its churchyard extending to both sides of the road. Founded in 1813 as Harmon’s Church, the congregation moved to the present site in 1829. The present sanctuary was built in 1936. Continue on Zion Church Road. Turn right on Hwy 391.

Turn right on Rikard School Road and left in the second entrance to Prosperity Cemetery. About halfway down on either side is the oldest part of the cemetery. The Prosperity Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) was established here in 1802. The church moved into town in 1889. From the cemetery, turn right on McNeary Street (Hwy 391). Posperity is blessed with many beautiful homes from the last quarter of the nineteenth century. On the left, at the corner of Dominick Street is the Hunter-Fellers House. Begun in the nineteenth century as a frame building, the classical portico and the brick siding were added in the early twentieth century. On the left, on the corner of Church Street is the Dr. C. T. Wyche House, circa 1890, with its elaborate gingerbread decoration. On the right is the Prosperity Depot for the Columbia, Newberry and Laurens railroad which arrived in town in 1890. Follow the bend over the railroad tracks and turn left on Main Street. Turn right on Grace Street. On the right is Grace Lutheran Church which is getting ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding. Established in 1859 as Newville, the name was changed to Grace in 1878. The present sanctuary was built in 1974. Turn left on Wheeler Street (Hwy 76). Turn right on Bachman Chapel Road.

The vistas of hills, forests and pastures are particularly beautiful this time of year. On the right, at the corner of Candy Kitchen Road, is Bachman Chapel Lutheran Church. Established in 1886, the church is named for Rev. Dr. John Bachman who, among other things, was one of the founders of Newberry College. When you cross Jolly Street Road, this road becomes St. Philip’s Church Road. Turn left on Halfacre Road. Turn right on Clayton Memorial Church Road. Immediately on the left is the Gallman House which was built circa 1860. Down the road on the right is Clayton Memorial Universalist Church which was established in 1907. At the end of the road, turn left on Hwy 219. Follow this road as it becomes Main Street and return to historic downtown Newberry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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